It would be much easier if Cousins settled it on the field, if he left no doubt. If he doesn’t, Gruden will have to battle to keep Cousins, and he figures to face a room of people who range from unimpressed to ambivalent. If you think the Cousins conundrum is polarizing in the public, it’s far more complicated in private. Because the franchise remains in “I don’t know” mode, it doesn’t inspire much confidence that it will make the right decision. And let’s not even talk about trying to keep Cousins — a good man who deserves clarity — happy and not feeling jerked around in the process.
This isn’t shocking stuff. But the idea that some in the Redskins front office aren’t blown away by Cousins, and that they are sharing that view with members of the media, became a topic on the team’s pregame radio show.
“First of all, Jerry Brewer, you’re doing your job,” analyst Chris Cooley said. “You’re getting insight, and you’re writing as a journalist what you need to write. Secondly, whoever’s giving Jerry Brewer this information is divisive to this team at this point. To give this information midseason about your quarterback is a divisive mechanism towards your own success in the future, your own belief moving forward with what you want to do, with your principles and your ideals.
“Do it in the meeting rooms,” Cooley said. “Do it in the organization. But to give Jerry Brewer this, to let some people in the media know that ‘Hey, we don’t like Kirk Cousins, he might not be [the guy]’ — It’s divisive. Let’s let this out after the playoffs, after we’re done playing football.
“My opinion? You can say he’s got to win more football games. To me, he’s not playing the next eight games to see whether or not he’s the quarterback for this organization,” Cooley said. “He’s playing eight games to see if he earns 80, 90, 100, 110 [or] 120 million dollars. It’s not is he here or is he not here. It’s a massive mistake to let Kirk Cousins go anywhere else but here. He is the quarterback for this organization. He’s the ideal, the epitome of consistency. That’s what you want at that position. He gives you a chance every single snap.
“So you don’t go away from him,” Cooley said. “What he’s playing for isn’t ‘Is he the guy?’ in my opinion. It’s the difference of two to five million dollars a year, more or less.”
John Riggins then suggested what others have argued: that the Redskins front office might think Colt McCoy is a close-enough approximation of Cousins, that perhaps they think the scheme is the real winner here, that perhaps they wonder if Cousins can put a team on his back in critical situations.
“I think he’s proven in critical situations over the last year and a half that he can,” Cooley said, shortly before Washington’s win over Minnesota. “I think he had a game-winning drive against the Detroit Lions three weeks ago. I think he consistently took the ball down the field in the second half of the Cincinnati game, made big plays. Game in and game out I think he’s put it on his back and showed that he can.
“I don’t think it’s Sean McVay [who doubts Cousins], and I don’t think it’s Jay Gruden,” Cooley went on. “They know. Everybody in that organization — Jay, Bruce [Allen], Scot [McCloughan, Dan [Snyder], whoever it is — they know who is for Kirk Cousins and they know who is against Kirk Cousins. And so what you’re really asking the five people in power in the organization is, ‘Do we like this person letting this information out?’ Because let’s just say for example, Jay Gruden knows he loves Kirk Cousins. He says ‘Well it ain’t me’ [doubting him], so we know who it is.’ The team knows who it is. So really the idea is do you want this consistent [flow of] ‘I don’t really love this guy so I’m gonna let it out in Week 8.’ Boy, I hate that.”