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Need to Know: Redskins’ Gruden is trying to make things difficult on Cousins

Jun 9, 2016, 4:53 AM EDT

Gruden-Cousins-sideline

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, June 9, 49 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 151 days ago. It will be 95 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 49; Preseason opener @ Falcons 63; Final roster cut to 53, 86

Cousins’ confidence growing

It’s generally a mistake to read too much into performances that take place in shorts and football helmets. For one thing, not everyone participates and players are often going up against reserves and others who just hope to make the roster so they can be reserves. Also, contact is such an important part of the game that any drills that take place without it are difficult to evaluate.

With that said, it’s hard not to notice that Kirk Cousins has looked very, very good in OTAs so far. He looked particularly good on Wednesday as he made quick decisions and zipped the ball to receivers with touch and authority.

“He’s obviously playing with a lot of confidence, having a lot of fun,” said Jay Gruden after the OTA on Wednesday. “He’s got great command of the offense, that’s the one thing that you notice. He’s got great command over the formations. He’s got great command on the snap count, and that’s something he didn’t so much have the first year I was here and even last year in this time of year.”

It’s not a coincidence that in his fifth NFL season Cousins suddenly has great command. This is his first offseason as the starter and he is showing that he intends to take advantage of the opportunity.

Gruden does not intend to make things easy for Cousins.

“I’m trying to challenge him situationally,” said Gruden “Backed up, red zone, third down, fourth down, two-point plays, all of it and trying to see how he handles them. Offensive coordinators, defensive coordinators, offensive line, everybody, not just the quarterbacks. We’re trying to challenge him and push the envelope a little bit and get as many situational problems as we can, get them on tape and see how they react and coach and correct off of it. He’s much more comfortable in all of them.”

So far, he has met the challenge. But, again, his success has to be evaluated considering that they are not wearing pads. While it would be great to have an answer about how Cousins will perform in 2016 right now we are going to have to wait.

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  1. troylok - Jun 9, 2016 at 7:17 AM

    The value of continuity…

    • sidepull - Jun 9, 2016 at 9:24 AM

      How true. Years of QB’s and coaches on the Redskins carousel. The winners in the NFL are stable for the most part, systems, coaches, front offices…continuity cannot be underestimated.

  2. colorofmyskinz - Jun 9, 2016 at 7:31 AM

    Cousins will be a franchise beast for us and will be the hottest QB out this year.

    We better sign him longterm before July 15, because if we wait for next year he will be really expensive. We might be able to get him for an average of $18-20 per year right now. If we wait until next year we could be staring at $23-25 M per year.

    Just lock the boy up!

    • goback2rfk - Jun 9, 2016 at 9:03 AM

      In the same note if he tanks he could be getting 16 mil a year. And that is why they haven’t signed him yet.
      Betting on him to tank maybe?

      • John - Jun 9, 2016 at 2:50 PM

        Not exactly. Probably not that far apart on numbers the difference is in how much guaranteed and how many years. Kirk is looking for long term security and the front office is looking for off ramps for future flexibility.
        Either way they have to pay him because most of the upper echelon QB are on the far side of their 30s. Peyton crashed at 38. Some say wait and see but that’s not realistic when Osweiler got big $ based on 7 games and Bradford got big $ and he’s been around and never accomplished anything. Kirk had a record year last year and even before that even 2013 and 2014, he showed promise. Is he a work in progress? Yes but he has gotten progressively better and played at a very high level when they had all the pieces to work with. Keep in mind he carried the team last year.

        If you don’t sign him, you risk losing him and starting over again at QB. Hey maybe we can get Robert, the not so great back.

        • goback2rfk - Jun 9, 2016 at 3:11 PM

          Speaking of Robert, reports out of Browns camp is all great news. The one time superstar out of Baylor is gunning balls all over the field. Congrats for Rob Griff III and we will see his a-s-s on week 4 over at run broke down ass Fed-Ex field.

      • John - Jun 9, 2016 at 9:31 PM

        It is unlikely he will tank or regress to where he was in 2014, throwing picks. If his numbers go down it will be more from facing better competition (defenses) than last season.

        Kirks strengths are his fit for the offense, his getting everyone lined up in the right place (few delay of game calls), making reads and getting the ball out quickly, moving into and sliding in the pocket to help his blockers, being able to complete 3rd downs and complete drives for TDs as opposed to FGs.

        He needs to use his feet more, when plays breakdown or when the opportunity avails. Some say he needs to throw deep more, sure but only if the play is there. They only have 1 deep threat in Jackson as Garcon and the others are more in the posession mold.

        The team has always been able to move the ball down the field with Kirk. Last year they ran long time consuming 10 – 15 play drives to take the clock away from their opponents. Bombs are great but when you can drive the length of the field on your opponent, its even better. They just need the running game and defense to get a lot better.

        Robert may be throwing balls over the fence in Cleveland but he still has to show that he is not a 1 trick pony. Baylor and the NFL are 2 different animals. Hr had great success in college and as a rookie because of the systems he was in. When he tried to be a pocket passer it was a disaster.

    • Pette - Jun 10, 2016 at 1:06 AM

      I agree !!! Beast mode boy!!!

  3. Sidney - Jun 9, 2016 at 10:08 AM

    WE NEEEEEEEEED TO WORK ON HURRY UP OFFENSE, THAT KILLED US VS GREENBAY!!!!!!!!

    • colorofmyskinz - Jun 9, 2016 at 12:26 PM

      Agreed!!

    • Skulb - Jun 10, 2016 at 4:34 AM

      Trick coverages and hard counts killed us against Green Bay. That and a lack of offensive efficiency while dominating the first half. Hurry ups were not a problem at all last year. Kirk was if anything better once they went to two minute drills, and won an Eagles game and a Bucs game in the final seconds.
      They need to work on situational football, which is probably why Gruden said in his last presser that they are working on situational football.

  4. bangkokben - Jun 9, 2016 at 5:49 PM

    Better to look good now than to not.

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