By Chris Lingebach

Joe Theismann railed against a rumor floated by Dan Patrick saying Kirk Cousins is not “well liked” by his wide receivers.

Patrick’s commentary, made Monday on his eponymous radio show, came after NFL Network hosts Marshall Faulk and Steve Smith, Sr. questioned the quarterback’s leadership ability following last Thursday’s 38-14 loss in Dallas.

“I did a little research about the whole Kirk Cousins situation and what Marshall Faulk and Steve Smith, Sr. were saying about Kirk Cousins,” Patrick said. “Kirk Cousins is not well liked by his wide receivers. Not at all. So the behind the scenes intel is they’re not big Kirk Cousins fans.”

Theismann called into 106.7 The Fan’s “Chad Dukes vs. The World” Thursday and arrived shot out of a cannon, saying, first of all, he does not believe any Redskins receivers are badmouthing Cousins to the media.

“I don’t believe anybody’s saying anything,” Theismann said. “Maybe it’s somebody who is disgruntled with the organization, maybe it’s somebody’s agent, maybe it’s somebody trying to put words in someone’s mouth. Who knows exactly what it is? But to me, I can tell you, as much time as I spend around Kirk, as much time as I spend around this organization, as much time as I spend around the players, the things reportedly that I’ve heard are to me the furthest things from the truth.”

One Redskins receiver, Terrelle Pryor, has had a wildly disappointing season, catching only 54 percent of the balls thrown his way for 240 yards and a touchdown. He signed a one-year deal with Washington and has since been placed on Injured Reserve. Dukes pointed out that Pryor was a former guest of Patrick’s radio show to ask Theismann if he’d be surprised if Pryor had negative things to say about Cousins.

“I don’t know. I didn’t hear anything. I don’t really know,” Theismann said. “I can say this: Terrelle worked so hard — and I’m sure will continue to work so hard — to improve his skills as a wide receiver. He was dedicated during the time in training camp. He was dedicated. He worked hard. He studied hard. Those are the things that I observed from Terrell Pryor when he was actively on the Washington Redskins football team.”

“I don’t believe he’ll be back next year,” he added. “I think there are other systems that will suit his skill set, and he’ll get better and better and hopefully some day be one of those guys that they look at and say he’s a difference maker. But not in this system. It wouldn’t be in this system.”

Theismann noted, between the 2017 and 2016 seasons, Cousins has had so many offensive weapons it would be nearly impossible for Cousins to keep all of them happy.

“DeSean [Jackson] was a 1,000-yard receiver last year. Pierre [Garcon] was a 1,000-yard receiver last year,” Theismann said. “How does somebody come out and say, ‘Well, you know, these guys — there was discontent’? When you look at the Redskins roster last year — and I said it in preseason — you have DeSean, you have Pierre, you have Jordan [Reed], you have Chris [Thompson], you have Jamison Crowder. You have five guys that require the football. How do you spread out, in the course of a game, enough catches to keep everybody happy? You don’t.”

“So what you do is you pick and choose: the team you’re up against, the plays that you think will work, the person that you think will have the best advantage,” he said. “And those are all part of the game planning.”

Theismann took aim the anonymous source behind Patrick’s intel.

“But what really, really gets my goat is when someone comes out that’s unnamed and says these comments about Kirk,” said Theismann. “And by the way, the quarterback position is not a popularity contest. The single most important thing you have to be is respected, and the way you gain respect is what Kirk Cousins has done. You show up every week when you don’t have an offensive line, when you don’t have your starting wide receivers, when you don’t have your starting tight end, when you don’t have your starting running back. That’s the way you gain and earn respect, and that’s what frosts me more than anything.”

“You’ve known me long enough, and everybody listening out there has,” he said. “If I say something, I own it. You know where the source is. If I have an opinion about something, you know what it is. I’m not hiding behind some anonymous source who was an executive with the organization, who didn’t want to go any further. Well if you didn’t want to go any further, why did you say something in the first place?”

“And as far as all wide receivers go, Josh [Doctson] is just learning how to play wide receiver,” he said. “Terrelle is and will continue to still try and learn how to play. Ryan [Grant] is just a steady guy. Jamison [Crowder]’s not a wide receiver, he’s a slot guy.”

“When people talk about Kirk Cousins, you have to understand the circumstances and situations that he is operating under, as well as Jay Gruden as a play-caller,” he continued. “You know, he’s calling plays with one arm tied behind his back. If somebody wants to say something, let’s not make it a source. In our world of football, if you want to say something, put your name to it so that you can actually be questioned and say, ‘Why would you say that? Why do you believe that?’ Instead of the hearsay that goes on that creates all the rhetoric for talk radio.”

By most accounts, Cousins has appeared as a stand-up guy publicly through his entire time with the Redskins. Questions about his character or likability have rarely come into play. Which is what make Patrick’s account so unique.

“The thing that I would ask,” Theismann said. “If somebody didn’t respect you, I mean what’s there not to respect? You don’t get along with somebody. These guys see each other at work. It’s not like they go out to dinner, their families share experiences together. You go to work. You do your job. How many people in the office do you basically go out with or do something with?

“But to say they don’t respect him — what’s not there to respect? The guy prepares; he plays his rear end off; he gets the crap beat out of him, gets up every time. Tell me. This would be my question to that so-called ‘source.’ What don’t you respect about Kirk Cousins? Tell me. Tell me what you do not respect about him. Tell me what you don’t like about him.”

“Being liked or disliked is insignificant,” he said. “I know guys that I played with that didn’t like me. The only thing that mattered to me was that I was respected, and I earned their respect by doing the things on the field and on the practice field to give them the best chance to be as good as they could be, and to give us the best chance to win football games. That’s the thing that gets me.”

“Again, I guess it’s time: ‘Let’s see if we can do something to the Washington Redskins. Let’s focus on the Washington Redskins.’ Terrelle Pryor’s not gonna be here next year,” he said. “This is not a fit for Terrelle. Terrelle is a downfield guy, and he’s also a young man who’s continuing to learn — and has worked very hard on trying to learn — to be a wide receiver. Josh spent the first half of the season half-hurt and is now starting to get better and better at what he does. Those are the two wide receivers.”

“One’s not playing and the other’s really just now starting to get himself comfortable in a system,” he said.

Follow @ChrisLingebach and @1067TheFan on Twitter

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