RICHMOND - Jay Gruden expects the same effort and production from Kirk Cousins, regardless of the now two-year long contract saga between the quarterback and the Redskins.
"The thing about Kirk is you’re never worried about his preparation. It’s not going to vary from day in to day out," the coach said. "He’s not going to come in and be a different guy every day. He’s the same guy every day. [He’s] a great competitor, wants to get better."
Talks between Cousins' represenatives and the Redskins seemed more congenial this offseason, though the result remained the same. Cousins will be paid $24 million this year on the franchise tag, after making $20 million in 2016 on the same tag.
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Redskins team president Bruce Allen explained in a statment that his organization made an offer to Cousins that included $53 million guaranteed. Considering the funny money nature of NFL deals, the offer really only guaranteed another season at about $28 million for Cousins before a series of advantageous terms for the franchise. The deal had no chance of completion considering Cousins' leverage.
Still, Gruden thinks his quarterback will deliver.
"He has a lot of room for improvement and he wants to be coached and it’s fun to coach him."
If Gruden sounds confident in Cousins' ability to compartmentalize, he should. The quarterback did just that last season, passing for nearly 5,000 yards with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
The Redskins, and Cousins, struggled in the red zone in 2016, and that's something Gruden wants to see improved.
"The contract status will take care of itself eventually, hopefully, but right now it is what it is and we’re happy to have him for 2017."
Long-term deal, or not, it's time for Gruden to coach and Cousins to quarterback.
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