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Need to Know: McCloughan hopes Cousins is Redskins' QB for 'a long time'

Need to Know: McCloughan hopes Cousins is Redskins' QB for 'a long time'

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 21, seven days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 193 days ago. It will be 53 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Preseason opener @ Falcons 21; Final roster cut 44; Cowboys @ Redskins 59

There are plenty of Redskins fans who are losing sleep over the recent report that the Redskins may try to find a younger and cheaper alternative to Cousins if they can’t come to a long-term deal that makes financial sense for the team. One of the concerns is that this will make Cousins feel like he is unwanted by the organization.

We’ll see about that. The Redskins won’t be able to get their Plan B quarterback until next year. Nate Sudfeld may be the very rare sixth-round pick who pans out but we’re a long way from him possibly casting any sort of shadow. Colt McCoy is a journeyman backup. I’m not sure how Cousins can feel threatened at this point in time.

In addition, Scot McCloughan has praised Cousins and has expressed his desire to get a long-term contract done with him virtually every time he has spoken to the media this year (emphasis added in all quotes).

At the combine 2/24:

“We’ve got to go with what we’re going with and you know, it’s not about the individual, it’s the sum of the parts like I always say. There’s 52 other guys that not saying same kind of talent level or same kind of financial investment, but I’ve got to make sure the organization is taken care of, but I want Kirk to be here and Kirk wants to be here. So, I think there’s a way we can get to that point.”

At the owners meetings 3/22:

“As you guys are well aware, I’ve already said it, I would love to have Kirk in a long-term deal and I think he would love to be on a long-term deal just to know, listen this is where you’re going to play and this is going to be where you are for a long time.”

To Bleacher Report 4/12:

“I told Kirk when he came in – and his wife must have hugged me for 10 minutes because he just went from making $600,000 to $19.9 million. I told him: ‘You take care of me and this organization, we’re going to take care of you, I promise.”

Pre-draft presser 4/25:

“We’re in contact – we would love to get something done prior to [the deadline].”

Post-draft presser 5/2

“Everybody in this building, if you ask to a man – players, coaches – we all want him here for a long-term deal. I would love to get something done, but you can’t force it. They have to agree to what we’re looking at, but he’s our leader on offense. He’s our quarterback. He won the East last year and that’s pretty cool because that’s what we need here. We need those types of guys.”

Sirius XM NFL Radio, 7/17 (via @dcsportsbog):

McCloughan said he feels “very positive” about Cousins’s leadership and confidence during this offseason, and that the team is “going to be fine” moving forward. He said Cousins is “a good quality person” and “a good football player,” and that “the players respect him.” He said both sides would have liked to get a deal done, and that “hopefully he’s our quarterback for a long time, going forward.”

I’m not sure how much more McCloughan can do to support Cousins. Eventually, he will have to show him the money. But giving Cousins the franchise tag was not a sign of disrespect or a slap in the fact. Letting him hit the open market like the Broncos did with Brock Osweiler would have been showing disrespect.

Giving Cousins $20 million for a “hey, we like what we saw but we want to see more” year is not insulting by any means. Cousins will get his chance to earn big money while making considerably more than the minimum wage.

Ultimately, Cousins' performance and money will decide how this plays out. There is no need for anyone to be concerned about bruised feelings.

 

In case you missed it 

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Five takeaways from the Redskins' necessary win over the Giants

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USA TODAY Sports

Five takeaways from the Redskins' necessary win over the Giants

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ ugly 20-10 win vs. the Giants.

A Win is a Win:
If you are worried about style points you are doing it wrong. This was a banged up team on a short week playing for its life. Perhaps a better start would have made for a more comfortable win but they got done what they needed to do.

Jamison Crowder is on a Roll
:
He gained a career-high 141 yards on seven receptions. The yardage broke his career high of 123 that he set in Week 8. The third-year receiver got off to very slow start, not posting over 52 yards in any game.

But he has broken out of his slump in a big way and Kirk Cousins is very glad to see it.

Perine is Ready:
The rookie was elevated into the starting role after Rob Kelley went onto injured reserve two weeks ago. His importance elevated when Chris Thompson went out for the year with a broken leg.

Fortunately for the Redskins, his play has elevated since becoming the starter. He rushed for 117 yards against the Saints on Sunday. Thursday, four days later, he couldn’t get anything going in the first half, gaining only three yards on seven carries. But he got rolling in the second half and finished with 100 yards on 24 carries.

The Redskins may well have lost this game if Perine, the only back who was on the roster as of three weeks ago, had not gotten himself on track.

MUST-SEE: BEST IMAGES FROM REDSKINS' THANKSGIVING VICTORY

Defense Got Help: 
Eli Manning passed for 113 yards. Only six times in his career, which spans 211 games, has he thrown for fewer yards. There are three entities mainly responsible for Eli’s woes. The Redskins defense did a good job of putting pressure on him and for the most part the back seven played well in coverage. But Eli himself contributed to his own production problems.

On many occasions he had time to throw and a receiver open but he either sailed the ball well over the receiver’s head or threw it in the ground. Finally, when Manning did have time and delivered the ball on the money, his receivers frequently were unable to find the handle; there were several costly drops.

RELATED: BIGGEST UP'S AND DOWN'S FROM REDSKINS-GIANTS

There is Hope:
It’s too early in the weekend to go into much detail about the Redskins chances of making the playoffs but the losses earlier in the day by the Lions and Cowboys certainly helped.

It’s still a tough path to navigate.

But they did what they needed to do today in winning one of six games that looked winnable earlier this week. All they can do is try to get a winning streak together and they did all they could do in that regard on Thanksgiving.

Now it’s on to Dallas to see if they can take the next step.

MORE: THIS ONE THROW SHOWS HOW COUSINS IS EVOLVING

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Want to see how Kirk Cousins is evolving as a quarterback? Then watch this throw

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USA TODAY Sports

Want to see how Kirk Cousins is evolving as a quarterback? Then watch this throw

LANDOVER — At times during the Redskins' 20-10 Thanksgiving night victory over the Giants, Kirk Cousins and Washington's offense performed at a level somewhere between sloppy nausea-inducing.

There was that awful sequence where the offense botched a fourth-and-1 more than they normally do.

There was also No. 8's slightly off-target throw to a running back he barely knows that ended up as six points for New York. And there were plenty less notable, but still gross, plays before and after those.

But Cousins' first touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder was far from gross. It was beautiful. It was creative.

And it showed how the 29-year-old is still developing as a quarterback:

MUST-SEE: BEST IMAGES FROM REDSKINS' THANKSGIVING VICTORY

"The touchdown he had to Crowder was one of his best touchdown passes that I've seen since I've been here," Jay Gruden said about it afterward.

He's right.

By now, you know the boxes that Cousins checks off as a passer. He has the requisite arm strength. He's usually able to move an offense, even one like the Redskins' 2017 version that includes a ton of spare parts, up and down the field. He has the work ethic and leadership skills. 

But a common knock against him is that he can't extend a play and find a receiver when things aren't there during his initial dropback. And that weakness becomes a glaring one in the red zone.

Yet on Thanksgiving night, there Cousins was, avoiding an edge rusher, stepping up, rolling right and then nailing Crowder right on the numbers for a crucial TD. Like his head coach, Cousins was proud of how that score unfolded.

"I felt some pressure so I just tried to escape up and to the right and kept my eyes down field," he said. "I think just the longer I play, I'll get a better feel for how to move and escape."

MORE: ALL OF THE UPS AND DOWNS OF THE THANKSGIVING WIN

Cousins' final stats don't stack up to some of his past performances, such as his Week 11 effort in New Orleans where he shined or his pretty perfect evening vs. the Raiders in Week 3. Regardless, this one was encouraging in its own way, because it provided another grlimpse at how the signal caller is becoming more comfortable when things around him become uncomfortable.

Like most of his fellow starters in the league, Cousins has flaws. But the more he plays, the more those flaws diminish. Gruden sees it, he sees it, and you should see it, too.