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Jay Gruden says Kirk Cousins doesn't owe him anything, but he's wrong

Jay Gruden says Kirk Cousins doesn't owe him anything, but he's wrong

Jay Gruden does not feel owed anything from Kirk Cousins. He made that clear on Wednesday. 

"Why would he owe me something? Kirk doesn’t owe anybody," the coach said. 

And he's wrong. 

Cousins' rise to succesful NFL quarterback might have happened without Gruden, but it might not have happened nearly as soon.

Remember, Gruden, along with former general manager Scot McCloughan, went to Redskins ownership to insist that Cousins should start over Robert Griffin III in 2015. 

That was the easy part.

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By that point, after a brilliant rookie campaign in 2012 ruined by injury, Griffin had bombed out in 2013 and 2014. Outside observers knew the Redskins could not stick with RG3. 

The hard part was insisting that Cousins was the guy, and sticking with him during a rocky start. 

Fans remember Cousins ended 2015 on a tremendous hot streak and an NFC East title, but the first half of the year was not nearly as strong. The season swung after an incredible comeback win at home against Tampa, the famous You Like That game, but prior to beating the Bucs, Cousins was hardly a sure thing.

Coming into that game, Cousins had thrown six touchdowns compared to eight interceptions and the Redskins were 2-4. Immediately prior to the Bucs win, Cousins had thrown for less than 200 yards with one TD and two INTs while completing less than 60 percent of his passes in a loss to the Jets. 

At this point, zero debate remains among sane people if Cousins is good enough to start in the NFL. He very obviously does, and will have numerous suitors should he hit the open market. 

But at that point? Halftime of the Bucs game, down 24-7? It took a strong belief in Cousins to keep him in the game.

Gruden had it, and was rewarded. 

Now is an important time to point out that Cousins has become the Redskins single-season passing yards record holder largely on his own skill and hard work. Players improve on their own. And if he was asked, Cousins would likely disagree with his coach and say that, yes, he does owe Gruden for some of his success. 

Coaches can accelerate that improvement, and put players in positions to succeed, but ultimately, Cousins made himself into the player that could become the highest paid in the NFL. 

"Some players put less into it and you see they get less out of it. But Kirk’s put so much into making himself a great player that he’s made himself who he is," Gruden said. "We just try to give him information to help him succeed along the way and surround him with good people. And he’s made people around him better in turn and made me better, made other coaches better, and also made some players around him better. It’s worked hand in hand."

That's all true, but it's also true that Cousins needed Gruden to get where he is now. 

The quarterback famously said "I owe you my career" to former Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay when he left to take the Rams head coaching job before this season. McVay was vital to Cousins' development, clearly, as both a play caller and peer. 

Earlier this year, however, Cousins said he believes he's playing his best football. And that's with Gruden back calling the plays. 

It's entirely possible Cousins will play for another team next year. The Redskins have few good options with their quarterback's pending contract situation. 

What Cousins owes Gruden will unlikely be a factor should the passer hit free agency. And that's fair. Athletes, especially in the non-guaranteed contract world of the NFL, should maximize their opportunities. 

Cousins doesn't owe Gruden everything, but the quarterback does owe his coach. Something. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Senior Bowl Preview: All eyes on the quarterbacks as Redskins must consider options

Senior Bowl Preview: All eyes on the quarterbacks as Redskins must consider options

MOBILE — Kirk Cousins remains the best option to be the Redskins quarterback of the future, but that future isn't very secure. For the past two seasons, Washington has been unable to get a long-term deal done with Cousins and optimism is low heading into the 2018 negotiating period. 

At this point, after consecutive franchise tags, it might be time for the Redskins to look at options beyond Cousins. Colt McCoy is under contract for 2018, and head coach Jay Gruden has repeatedly voiced confidence in the famed Texas product. 

Big picture, however, the Redskins need to find their QB for 2018, and beyond. Perhaps that will be Cousins, but it's time for serious due diligence. 

That means the Washington contingent heading to Mobile, Alabama, this week for the Senior Bowl needs to be watching the quarterbacks. And there's a lot to watch. 

Senior Bowl rosters are loaded with future NFL talent at all different positions. NBC Sports will have much more on that later in the week, but to kick things off, start with the passers. 

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  • 1) Baker Mayfield - Nobody will have a brighter light on them in Mobile than Mayfield. The 2017 Heisman Trophy winner made big splashes on the field for Oklahoma, posting video game numbers. He threw for more than 4,600 yards in 14 games to go with 43 touchdowns against only six interceptions. He completed a crazy 70 percent of his throws, which is very high for a college passer. There was some off-field immaturity, and a February 2017 arrest, but those issues aren't expected to cause him to slide in the draft. A number of draft experts predict Washington drafting Mayfield with the 13th overall pick, but there will be plenty of teams ahead of the Redskins that need a passer. Mobile will give the Redskins brass a chance to meet and learn who Mayfield is off the field, and that will be vitally important, along with figuring out if there are reasons to be concerned about his height on the pro football level. 
  • 2)  Josh Allen - Big arm and traditional pocket passer, Allen will ace the eyeball test from talent evaluators. His 2017 numbers from Wyoming will not, however, and he will need a strong showing at pre-draft workouts. Mel Kiper suggested Allen could go as high as No. 1 overall, and at 6-foot-5, 230 lbs., there is clearly not a lack of physical talent. In his last two seasons at Wyoming, Allen threw for more than 5,000 yards along with 44 TDs against 21 INTs. Don't try too hard to compare Mayfield and Allen's stats, as comparing the talent and situations at Oklahoma and Wyoming are wildy different. Many NFL scouts love Allen, but some worry about his accuracy. In college, he completed just 56 percent of his passes. He may be a boom or bust type pick, but after the success of Carson Wentz coming out of North Dakota State, teams will be more willing to roll the dice on the Wyoming Cowboy in Allen. 
  • 3) Mason Rudolph - Upstaged by Mayfield's success at Oklahoma, Rudolph put together a terrific season of his own at Oklahoma State. A prolific passer for three seasons in Stillwater, as a senior, Rudolph tossed 37 TDs against nine interceptions along with nearly 5,000 passing yards. At 6-foot-5, Rudolph faces no questions about NFL size, and he certainly has a strong enough arm to play in the pros. Rudolph won't be practicing at the Senior Bowl but is expected to interview with NFL teams. Redskins coach Jay Gruden has said before the interviews are arguably the most important part of the pre-draft process, and this could be a big meeting. Rudolph isn't expected to go quite as high as Allen or Mayfield, and could even be drafted in the back half of the first round. 

There will be other quarterbacks playing in Mobile, including Washington State's Luke Falk, Nebraska's Tanner Lee, Virginia's Kurt Benkert, Troy's Brandon Silvers, Western Kentucky's Mike White and Kyle Lauletta of the University of Richmond. There is some intrigue surrounding Lauletta and White, especially as small school QBs continue to thrive in the NFL and both passers have NFL size and play best from the pocket. Not for nothing, Bruce Allen played football at Richmond too. 

It's a little weird that both Allen and Mayfield are on the same team, splitting reps in practice and snaps in the game. Then again Allen might not even play, so it could be irrelevant. 

Stay with NBC Sports Washington throughout the week for updates from the Senior Bowl. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

 

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Let's take a look at how Eagles fans celebrated Sunday's NFC Championship win

eaglesfans.jpg
AP Images

Let's take a look at how Eagles fans celebrated Sunday's NFC Championship win

Eagles fans are known for a lot of things, most tend to not be very positive.

Sunday, the internet made sure to help us all keep track of what was going on in Philly, before, during, and after the Eagles and Vikings played for the NFC Championship.

Let's take a look at how things progressed in the City of Brotherly Love.

In what has become the iconic symbol of Sunday's "celebrations", this poor fellow, according to TMZ, Andrew Tornetta, refused to comply with orders to disperse by police in the parking lot before the game.

Instead, according to the report, Tornetta punched a police horse twice in the right shoulder and then hit the human officer in the face, which is always a terrible decision.

Oh, and it's the second time in two weeks a police horse took a fist from a human in Philly. 

Fans also welcomed anyone wearing Vikings colors with class and, well, brotherly love.

Also before the game, the city decided to be proactive, and keep fans from climbing light poles if the Eagles won.

Of course, we knew what wouldn't stop them.

Sure enough, some fans were up to the Crisco Pole Challenge.

Others though, didn't need grease to have issues with a pole.

Some decided to create a new dance, which we're sure will catch on any day now.

There was also the classic dance-on-a-car move.

Oh, and let's not forget them letting the Vikings know they played a great game. 

Forget the Patriots and Eagles playing eachother in the Super Bowl.

The real matchup, is Patriots fans and Eagles fans.

May the best fanbase win.