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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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Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Scot McCloughan simply said what plenty of others think about Kirk Cousins

Redskins fans were frenzied when Scot McCloughan said that Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback, but not a special one. The #KirkHive shuddered and the Kirk Haters celebrated.

McCloughan, the former Redskins GM who's wildly popular with fans, explained what few people will say publicly: Cousins is a skilled player but probably not deserving of the money he might make in free agency. 

Let's start with the obvious: Cousins is good.

He's a durable passer in a league that doesn't have enough of them. He's started the last 49 games for the Redskins and thrown for more than 4,000 yards each of the past three seasons. 

Now more obvious: He isn't great.

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Bleacher Report's Chris Simms, speaking on the #RedskinsTalk podcast, said Cousins ranks about 12th among NFL passers. It's top half of the league, but it's not Top 5 or even Top 10. 

Cousins has had tremendous games with the Redskins, like a near perfect performance against Oakland in 2017 or a dominant performance against Green Bay in 2016. 

Cousins has also been awful, as recently as Week 17 in New York a few weeks ago, or an equally stinky Week 17 game against the Giants two seasons ago. 

While some might view McCloughan's statement as controversial — "He’s a good player. Is he special? I don’t see special," he told Denver radio station 104.3 the Fan — it's not. 

Plenty of people agree with McCloughan, including some in Redskins Park. Last year, a source told NBC Sports Washington that the team believed they could get nearly as much production from Colt McCoy as Cousins provided. 

Even this year, Washington head coach Jay Gruden offered lukewarm praise of his quarterback.

When the season ended, asked to evaluate Cousins' play, the coach said, "When you’re 7-9, it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ There’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent [Williams] when he played was a Pro Bowl-type and Brandon [Scherff] when he was healthy was a Pro Bowl-type guy. Kirk had his flashes where he was really good. From a consistent standpoint, over the course of 16 games, you know, we’re 7-9."

That quote made headlines when Gruden said it, much like McCloughan's comments now are circulating faster than Beltway traffic. 

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Truth is, it's not new. And it's not news.

There are coaches that think Cousins is only scratching the surface of his capabilities. Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay come to mind, but both of those coaches have other QBs likely for the long-term future. 

Cousins might end up being paid like a Top 3 quarterback in the NFL, and that might be the right move given the demand at the position. Will that make him a special passer?

Not if special is defined as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. Even Cousins wouldn't argue with that.

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

ELITE 8 RESULTS

January 18: Round two, matchup one

The first Elite 8 matchup was... not close:

January 19: Round two, matchup two

The Elite 8's second tilt is underway. Vote now:


FIRST ROUND RESULTS

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

You'd think a turkey hat would be enough to capture a W, but not in this one:

January 17: Round one, matchup eight

The Elite 8 is now set with this showdown going to the retweets side: