When Mike Shanahan speaks, compliments of Kirk Cousins tend to follow, but on Wednesday the former Redskins coach's praise went all the way to the Super Bowl.
"There's no question he is a franchise guy," Shanahan said speaking with Colin Cowherd. "You give him a good system, and Kirk Cousins will win you a Super Bowl."
Now that is a loaded statement for a QB without a playoff win.
Shanahan has always been steadfast in his appreciation of Cousins' game and work ethic, and the former two-time Super Bowl winner in Denver continued to brag about his former 4th-round draft choice.
"I'd never been around a person that studied that hard, worked that hard," Shanahan said of Cousins.
Cousins diligence to football is well documented, but remember, Shanahan coached and was around QBs like Joe Montana and John Elway. If the praise sounds effusive, it's worth pointing out that Shanahan seems to very much want back in the NFL in a personnel role, perhaps reunited with his son Kyle as a coach.
One way to boost a personnel profile? Brag about the unheralded 4th-round QB you selected that is now a Pro Bowl alternate. Cousins has thrown for back-to-back 4,000 yard seasons, and is a player worth bragging about, but Shanahan also takes every opportunity to say that drafting and playing Robert Griffin III was not his choice. It's one thing to point out your successes, but the repeated RG3 dredging makes it somewhat obvious Shanahan is working to publicly clear his name so he can be more appealing for his next employer.
Besides, not many people would still argue that Cousins isn't a franchise QB. He's currently playing on a franchise tag, so in the most literal sense of the word, he's an actual franchise player. Shanahan's "franchise guy" proclamation doesn't mean much anymore, so time to go a step further, and say he's a potential Super Bowl winner.
Jay Gruden's predecessor also went on to compare Cousins to Drew Brees, an MVP and Super Bowl winner. Brees' found his greatest success in New Orleans, after he left the team that drafted him in San Diego, which Shanahan mentioned.
At a certain point, Shanahan's effusive praise of Cousins seems less a coach reflecting proudly on his former player, and more of a freshly shined bullet point on a resume.
Cousins has established himself as an NFL starter, which is no small feat, and he's shown to be one of the top 10 or 15 passers in the league. That's worthy of some celebration, though from Shahanan, it's starting to sound like something else entirely.
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