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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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Oddsmakers give Kirk Cousins favorable shot at 2017 NFL MVP

Oddsmakers give Kirk Cousins favorable shot at 2017 NFL MVP

There continues to be a (ridiculous) debate on whether or not Kirk Cousins can continue to be a successful starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins.

In the betting industry, there is not much debate with Cousins being listed with 50/1 odds to win the NFL MVP award this upcoming season from Bovada. Among all the other players listed, he is in a tie for 14th. 

He is coming off back-to-back seasons with seven 300 yard passing games, a team record, and has an abundance of fresh, young wide receivers to compliment his passing style. Last year he was third in the league in passing yards with 4,917, trailing only Drew Brees (5,208) and Matt Ryan (4,944). 

The team may not be poised for a Super Bowl run in 2017-18, but if the team makes a post-season run, who will it be on the back of? Jordan Reed? Rob Kelley? Ryan Kerrigan?

No, it will be Kirk Cousins. 

RELATED: Ex-GM outlines staggering contract for Kirk Cousins

Entering this season at 40-years-old, and defending Super Bowl MVP, Tom Brady is the overall favorite at 4/1. He is closely followed by Aaron Rodgers, and young quarterbacks Derek Carr and Dak Prescott. 

BOVADA 2017-18 NFL MVP ODDS:

Tom Brady, NE — 4/1
Aaron Rodgers, GB — 7/1
Derek Carr, OAK — 9/1
Dak Prescott, DAL — 12/1
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT — 12/1
Russell Wilson, SEA — 12/1
Matt Ryan, ATL — 16/1
Ezekiel Elliott, DAL — 20/1
Drew Brees, NO — 25/1
Andrew Luck, IND — 25/1
Cam Newton, CAR — 25/1
David Johnson, ARI — 33/1
Marcus Mariota, TEN — 33/1
Sam Bradford, MIN — 50/1
Antonio Brown, PIT — 50/1
Kirk Cousins, WAS — 50/1
Julio Jones, ATL — 50/1
Eli Manning, NYG — 50/1
Carson Palmer, ARI — 50/1
Adrian Peterson, NO — 50/1
Philip Rivers, LAC — 50/1
Matt Stafford, DET — 50/1
Odell Beckham Jr., NYG — 66/1
Rob Gronkowski, NE — 66/1
Alex Smith, KC — 66/1
Ryan Tannehill, MIA — 66/1
J.J. Watt, HOU — 66/1
Jameis Winston, TB — 66/1
Blake Bortles, JAX — 100/1
Andy Dalton, CIN — 100/1
Joe Flacco, BAL — 100/1
T.Y. Hilton, IND — 100/1
Marshawn Lynch, OAK — 100/1
LeSean McCoy, BUF — 100/1
Von Miller, DEN — 100/1
DeMarco Murray, TEN — 100/1
Carson Wentz, PHL — 100/1

RELATED: After Derek Carr deal, Cousins' best option may be short-term

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True or False: Rob Kelley will be Redskins leading rusher

True or False: Rob Kelley will be Redskins leading rusher

Robert Kelley emerged as the Redskins top running back in 2016, an incredible story of an undrafted guy working his way to the top. Of course, Matt Jones' problems with fumbling helped push Kelley to the top. 

Redskins coach Jay Gruden speaks highly of Kelley, particularly his fluidity and vision, but the team drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round this year to provide additional competition in the backfield.

Here's the crucial statement: Rob Kelley will lead the Redskins in rushing yards in 2017.

Finlay: True.

Kelley averaged 4.2 yards-per-carry last season and the Redskins ground game is very much centered on a "4 or more" philosophy. Washington running backs coach Randy Jordan joined the #RedskinsTalk podcast and explained that the team wants a runner it can count on for positive yards more than creating big plays. The Redskins offense, as designed by Gruden, sets up for big plays in the pass game, and the run should allow for proper use of play action. 

In just nine starts last year, Kelley gained more than 700 yards. Project that out over 16 games, and he would be over 1,000 yards rushing. Perine has much to learn about the NFL, and understanding pass protections will take time for the rookie out of Oklahoma. Chris Thompson will be a key part of the offense, but much of his yardage will come via the pass game. 

Kelley will lead this team in rush yards. He's looked great in OTAs and minicamp while the coaching staff believes Kelley is in much better shape this year than he was as a rookie. Write it down in pen. 

RELATED: How will Kelley and Perine share the carries?

Tandler: True.

After the draft and during rookie camp I was saying that there was a chance that Perine could lead the team is rushing this year. But after seeing Perine playing with the big boys in OTAs and minicamp it’s apparent that he has a long way to go to become a consistently productive running back.

One thing Kelley seems to have going in his favor is that he has a very sensible outlook on the NFL. As JP noted, Kelley showed up to Redskins Park in better shape than he did as a rookie. This indicates to me that he understands that being an NFL players is a year-round job. Staying in great shape is important in the league but at running back it’s vital. Kelley gets that and because he does, his chances of being available for 16 games are much higher.

In turn, that improves his chance of being the team’s leading rusher. I’m not sure if he’ll get 1,000 yards—Perine will get things figured out enough to take some carries before the season gets too old—but Gruden will make sure that he gets fed plenty as long as he is available. 

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