by Brian Tinsman

WASHINGTON — In a quarterback-driven league like the NFL, it is logical that the best team is led by the division’s best passer.

But in a division with a two-time Super Bowl champion in Eli Manning, and two highly-touted under-achievers in Tony Romo and Sam Bradford, it’s noteworthy when a respected analyst selects Kirk Cousins as the division’s rising star.

“I think it has to be Kirk. It has to be,” CBS Sports Radio host Tiki Barber told 106.7 The Fan’s Chad Dukes. “None of the guys from the Eagles excite me. Eli and Tony are old, and Kirk just feels like he took the right steps.

“We were talking early about how Tom Coughlin reinvented himself. Kirk, who is only 24 years old, reinvented who he was. There’s a lot to be excited about with him, especially if he keeps continuity with his coordinators and just keeps taking the small steps forward. You don’t need to take leaps and bounds but just take small steps forward.

“Especially if you have talent around you, which the Washington Redskins do.”

Unlike the last time the Redskins won the NFC East, there are few questions about the future of the quarterback position. With a seemingly stable combination of front office, coaching and supporting cast, Cousins has the tools necessary to compete and succeed.

“The most important thing you can take away is that your quarterback, Kirk Cousins, actually is a viable player in the National Football League,” Barber explained. “You see what happens when there’s a commitment to a guy. There’s no bickering and–I don’t want to say ‘divas,’ because Robert Griffin wasn’t really a diva. But it felt like it, right? It just felt like the message was wrong. The brand was wrong.

“But when you get a head coach that believes in the kid, who encourages and pushes to the kid, who let’s him go through the mistakes that he was bound to make–because he was interception-prone earlier–he comes out of it. What you get is a kid who played unbelievable down the stretch. He was one of the highest-rated quarterbacks in the league over the last six games of the year.”

Going into an offseason in which the foundation for success is already in place, the biggest task will be getting Cousins under a long-term contract.

“Continuity is king,” Barber said. “Getting him back, getting an offensive game-plan…that’s what you have to be excited about with this Washington Redskins team.”


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