For more than 10 years, Mike McCarthy has coached Aaron Rodgers.
Clearly he knows good quarterbacking — so when the Green Bay coach speaks highly of Kirk Cousins, it carries some weight.
"He’s distinct on where he’s going with the football. He’s playing with good accuracy, so I think he is playing extremely well," McCarthy said of the Redskins QB.
Through nine games, Cousins has thrown for more than 2,700 yards 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Highly efficient at running Jay Gruden's offense, Cousins is completing nearly 67 percent of his passes.
"The play action passing game is excellent," McCarthy said. "I think, number one, when you watch their quarterback play, it’s something from a far you always look at Kirk Cousins and coming out of college, but I was real impressed with him in live action and playoff games. So he has great command of it."
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McCarthy's comments highlight the external view of Cousins around the NFL, where most coaches speak highly of the Washington passer. Green Bay knocked the 'Skins out of the playoffs last season, and Cousins did not play his best in that game. Conversely, Washington would likely not have even made the playoffs without Cousins' surge in the second half of the 2015 season. With seven games left to go in 2016, Cousins and the Skins are again in the playoff hunt, currently they would be the second NFC Wild Card team.
"I think he is playing with a lot more confidence," McCarthy said. "I’m not going to say a lot more confidence – I thought he was confident going into our game last year, so he’s confident."
If Cousins has more confidence, it makes sense.
For the first time in his NFL career, he spent the entire offseason as the No. 1 QB. That meant all the reps, film study, and attention from coaches was directed at Cousins.
While it's not a surprise McCarthy would compliment Cousins' play - the numbers make that obvious - some speculation suggests internally the Redskins are still not sold on their quarterback. Whether that's a negotiating tactic remains to be seen, as the franchise cannot begin contract talks with Cousins until the season ends as terms of his franchise tag dictate.
On his end, Cousins isn't worried about anything beyond this game, and this season.
"I’m always getting better. It’s not like I’ve played 10 seasons. I’m still very new, relative to many other quarterbacks in this league. So I’m just trying to grow and learn every game. I think each game I take another step forward and I gather some experiences and gain some understanding of how to play the position and keep getting better each week," Cousins said.
"I’ll continue to grow. I just go out there and play each week and let my play do the talking and let the chips fall where they may when the season is over. That’s ultimately when things will be evaluated and we’ll go from there."
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