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Potential camp phenom: Keith Eloi

Potential camp phenom: Keith Eloi

I touched on one aspect of being a phenom in my article defining the term but I buried it and it needs some more attention.

A player can only be a phenom once. By definition, once a player has moved through the initial buzz and excitement period he no longer is anonymous. Everyone knows which (usually small) college he went to, how a cousin of a friend of a position coach (never the same position as the player) recommended the player to the team, and how he's just taking it all in one day at a time.

Now, some aspects of being a phenom can carry over and happen more than once. Twice Marcus Mason has impressed in August and has developed a cult-like following. But two years ago we learned that he was a local product by way of Youngstown State, where he set some school records. You only can go through that initial period of discovery and the aspect of the unknown when it comes to what he can do on the field.

Rookie free agent wide receiver Keith Eloi is not exactly unknown. His notoriety has little to do with his accomplishments at Nebraska-Omaha. He caught 57 passes for 749 yards in two seasons there after transferring from junior college. As a kickoff returner he averaged 26.5 yards and took one to the house. Such production earned him a look with the Redskins in minicamp and he performed well enough there to land a spot on the 80-man roster, as one of six players fighting for one, maybe two roster spots and another one or two places on the practice squad.

What has separated Eloi from the masses and elevated him to cult status is his stardom on You Tube. In two videos he demonstrates his freakish vertical leap. In this one, he jumps out of a pool:

When I saw the description for the next one, I thought that he was jumping from the ground into the bed of a Ford F-150 that had the tailgate down. Nope.

It's easy to see Eloi attaining phenom status. All it will take will be a few leaping catches in practice, perhaps a one-handed grab during a preseason game and he'll be there. The odds of him making the team are long. He has to compete against two veterans, Marques Hagans and Roydell Williams, and a draft pick in Marko Mitchell, to take that fifth spot. But he could provide some lively and interesting moments on his way to the waiver wire.

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Cousins believes "a lot rides" on the coming Redskins season

Cousins believes "a lot rides" on the coming Redskins season

RICHMOND—While Kirk Cousins has had a lot of success in his first two seasons as the Redskins’ starting quarterback, he and the team didn’t finish last season the way they wanted to. They lost four of their last six games to finish out of a playoff spot. With the game on the line in the season finale against the Giants, Cousins threw an interception as the team was driving for a late score to win or tie the game. The loss was the final blow to their playoff hopes.

As with any disappointing situation, Cousins and the team must walk a line between learning from the mistakes that were made—and there were many beyond the Cousins interception—and dwelling on the past. Cousins said today that the failure to make the playoffs will help drive the team this year.

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

“I think what it does is it gives us an edge, because we stay humble and hungry because we left the season realizing we do have a long ways to go,” Cousins said of the late-season woes. “We do need to improve if we want to go in the direction that we all believe we can. In that sense we’ll take the silver lining that nobody is content, nobody is entitled, nobody feels like we can rest on what we’ve done in the past.”

While they can focus on the silver lining for now, Cousins says that they realize that coming close to the playoffs but missing out year after year won’t cut it. That’s what gets coaches fired and leads to players losing their jobs.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

“We do feel like a lot rides on this season up ahead,” he said. “Hopefully, that gives us a sense of urgency all through training camp to be really focused, and as a result gets the best out of every one of us so that our team can play as well as we possibly can.”

Cousins is playing on the one-year franchise tag. He has been quick to point out that many of his teammates are either on one-year deals or in the final season of a multi-year deal. Cousins is one of over a dozen starters or key contributors who will become free agents in 2018. If they are going to stay around they can’t go 2-4 down the stretch like they did last year.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Redskins' Cousins says he bets on the system, not on himself

Redskins' Cousins says he bets on the system, not on himself

RICHMOND—As Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins goes into playing under the franchise tag for the second straight season, the phrase commonly used about him is that he is betting on himself, eschewing the long-term security of a multiyear deal in favor hoping to improve his leverage by playing on the tags.

However, Cousins said that is a misconception.

“I don’t know that I ever bet on myself, I bet on the system, he said. “It has nothing to do with myself. I’m just going out and playing and there’s never been anything but positive feelings. I’m excited to get to work here. As I’ve said, my wife and I love it here and we’re in a good place.”

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

Ever since the deadline for him to sign a long-term contract this year came and went without a new deal, Cousins has been trying to debunk the notion that he has a desire to leave the Redskins as soon as he can. Appearing on 106.7 The Fan last week, Cousins said that the Redskins are his “first choice” to be his team going forward. He talked positively about his future in Washington again today after the Redskins first training camp walkthrough.

Although there was talk that the contract negotiations took a sour turn at the end after team president Bruce Allen revealed some of the details of the team’s final offer to Cousins, Cousins indicated today that everything is fine.

“W e’ve done a good job communicating between me and the team,” he said. “We’re on the same page and we’ve done everything we can possibly do to get that settled and move forward. I think we’re all in a good place right now and we’ve got enough to worry about getting our offense playing at the level we need to have a great season so I can be back in future years.”

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

What it really comes down to, what Cousins believes will make things good in the future for him and the Redskins, is success on the field.

“If you win football games, everything else takes care of itself,” he said.

“In the offseason, the ball’s in the team’s court. But from Week 1 to Week 17, the ball’s in my court and I’ve got to go play football well. That’s where my focus is.”

There likely will be more talk of Cousins future beyond the 2017 seas in the coming weeks and months. It appears that for right now that is the furthest thing from Cousins’ mind.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.