Aaron Rodgers had some nice things to say about Kirk Cousins on Tuesday.
But he had even more praise for Jay Gruden—and, specifically, the patience the Redskins’ head coach showed by sticking with his inexperienced quarterback.
“I think you’ve got to give Coach Gruden some credit as well for sticking with him and giving him an opportunity to develop and get better as the season has gone on,” Rodgers said on a conference call with Washington area reporters.
Indeed, Gruden continued to back Cousins earlier this season, even after the first-year starter threw eight interceptions in the Redskins’ first six games.
The reward, Rodgers added, is the drastic improvement Cousins has shown in recent weeks. In fact, Cousins has been one of the NFL’s hottest quarterbacks over the past 10 games, leading the Redskins to a 7-3 record while completing 72.4-percent of his passes. He’s also tossed 23 touchdowns, just three interceptions and amassed a passer rating of 119.1 during that span.
“You’ve obviously seen his improvement has led to wins and winning the division, so those guys deserve a lot of credit,” Rodgers said. “It’s tough, I think, today to have patience and it obviously paid off.”
Rodgers added that it’s harder these days to remain patient because there’s so much more pressure on coaches—and quarterbacks—to produce immediate results.
“That’s the tough part about being a young quarterback in 2015 compared to when I started in ,” Rodgers said. “I sat for three [years behind Brett Favre] and I went in there and actually expected to play well. But [nowadays], quarterbacks have less of that grace period because the coach’s job security is probably even less than it was 10 years ago. So there’s definitely a pressure and expectation of some quick play at a high level, and [Cousins] has done a good job of continuing to improve throughout the year.”
NBC Sports Washington lost an important piece of its family this week when longtime Redskins reporter Rich Tandler died on Tuesday. He was 63.
Tandler joined NBC Sports Washington in 2011. He began his writing career in his 40s after working in restaurants and created his blog, Real Redskins, in 2004, which became the longest-running blog on the team. He also wrote three books on the Redskins and posted an estimated 2,300 consecutive “Need To Know” posts, becoming a must-read for Redskins fans as part of their morning routine.
“We’re devastated to learn of the loss of one of our most loved and valued media members, Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington,” Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. “His dedication to covering the Redskins over the past 14 years has made him an irreplaceable presence among our media corps, and he will be in our hearts. Our thoughts are with his family, our family at NBC Sports Washington, and the entire Redskins community. He will be truly missed.”
The team will hold a moment of silence for Tandler before its game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday and will keep his regular seat on press row empty. On Wednesday, Redskins quarterback Alex Smith offered his “thoughts and prayers to his family.”
“Rich’s kind and warm nature made him a good friend and an especially close colleague to many of us at NBC Sports Washington,” NBC Sports Washington General Manager Damon Phillips said in a statement. “His passion for his work and the Redskins was inspiring and made him a critical part of many of our successes over the past seven years. This is a very big loss for the sports community. Our thoughts are with his family and his many friends.”
Fans, Redskins players, fellow reporters, and friends of Tandler paid tribute to him on social media.
“Incredibly saddened by the sudden passing of NBCSW’s Rich Tandler. He was a great talent and an important voice in the DC sports community. Our thoughts are with his wife @MissSkeetersmom, his family and his family at @NBCSWashington,” Washington Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis wrote on Twitter.
In a thriller in Foxboro, the Patriots handed Kansas City its first loss of the season.
It wasn't pretty but the Rams slipped past the Broncos to remain the lone unbeaten in the NFL.
Remember when the Lions beat New England on Sunday Night Football and folks were ready to bury the Patriots? Yeah... how did that 'hot take' work out?
Will the real Redskins please stand up? A win over the Panthers moved the Skins up three spots. Give the Redskins this, they are consistently unpredictable.
The Ravens are on the rise and Marcus Mariota is happy the Titans won't have to play Baltimore again.
So the Cowboys have an offense now? Or does Jacksonville not have an elite defense anymore?
And the Bears let Brock Osweiler throw for 380 yards. Yes. You read that correct. 380 yards.
How far will the Bears drop because of that dreadful defensive performance?