While still inside the building at Redskins Park, former General Manager Scot McCloughan was typically reserved in his commentary of quarterback quarterback Kirk Cousins. Now on the outside, with no dog in the fight in the team’s negotiations with Cousins, McCloughan has been more candid with his thoughts on the passer.
With the Broncos in search of their next quarterback, and a potential suitor for Cousins, McCloughan made a guest appearance Thursday with “Pritchard & Cecil” on Denver’s 104.3 The Fan.
Noting his good fortune to spend time around Brett Favre, Russell Wilson, Matt Hasselbeck and Alex Smith, McCloughan said of Cousins, “He’s a good player. Is he special? I don’t see special.”
“But also we were still building the roster around him to make him special,” he said. “Jay Gruden does a great job play-calling. Sean McVay did a great job play-calling, put him in situations to be successful. But he’s talented, and talented’s good at quarterback in the NFL.”
Like Jay Gruden following the Redskins’ 7-9 finish, McCloughan pointed to Cousins’ win-loss record in the NFL. Cousins is 26-30-1 overall in games he’s started since his 2012 rookie season, and 24-23-1 since taking over as the full-time starter in 2015.
“He’s won games. I know his record overall is not over .500,” McCloughan said. “I know he’s not won a playoff game. But he’s competitive. He works his tail off. He’s so methodical. Every day he has planned out. He’s always in the building. He’s always watching tape. He’s always talking to coaches. He’s talking to me. From the standpoint of intangibles, they’re excellent.”
“You just need to have some talent around him, because you don’t want him to be throwing the ball 35, 40 times to win a game,” he said. “You want to have a running game, have a good defense, good teams and then let him do what he does. The thing about it that’s unique, and you don’t really see it too often, he’s a pretty good athlete with his legs. He can make plays moving around in the pocket and running for first downs.”
“He’s got a strong enough arm. There’s no doubt about it,” he added. “He’s been through adversity. He got drafted the same year as Robert Griffin got drafted, and Robert was the guy, and of course, he deserved it. Rookie Offensive Player of the Year. And Kirk had to sit back and just wait, and wait and wait. He wants to play. He’s highly, highly competitive. He comes across as a real nice guy, like Alex Smith did in interviews — and they are, but they’re both highly competitive and they want to win. But they want a stability, too. They want to know they’re in some spot where it’s not just a one-year deal, one-year deal, one-year deal. He wants a long-term deal.”
As Redskins GM, McCloughan had hoped to work out a long-term deal with Cousins, but admitted after his departure “we kind of messed up” not getting a deal done earlier.
In present time, McCloughan affirms Cousins is “respected in the building.”
“He’s a really good football player,” he said. “He’s a leader. He’s a smart guy. He does everything right. But he has all the leverage, and for a quarterback to be tagged the second year, which they did this last year to him, it was the first time ever in NFL history. If they tag him for the third time, that’s $34 million in one season. It’s good if you’ve got a guy that you know can win a world championship for ‘ya, but it affects the other guys, the other teammates, because of the fact of contracts.”
“You know, you’re investing so much money in one position, you’re gonna lose some good players, some good, young players who come up on contracts,” he said. “And that’s, as a GM’s standpoint, that’s how you have to look at it. You’d love to have him. I’m sure they’d love to have him back for another year. He’s had three solid seasons in a row. But it’s a huge investment and it’s gonna affect the team.”