Scot McCloughan and Jay Gruden share a hug in 2015. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Scot McCloughan spent his last few months in Washington keeping a [team-mandated] low media profile. But now that the former Redskins general manager is out of the league, his media profile is again rising. Which led this week to yet another radio interview, which led to yet more interesting thoughts from the former GM.

This time, he was talking to San Francisco sports talker 95.7 the Game, and the subject was Kirk Cousins, a widely rumored potential future target for the 49ers and Coach Kyle Shanahan.

“The guy is really intelligent, the guy is a solid, solid quarterback,” McCloughan said of Washington’s starter. “You know, we kind of messed up in Washington not getting him done earlier, from the standpoint of the contract. But he can adjust to pretty much anything. The thing that’s good about Kyle is he can also adjust and put him in situations to be successful … but [Cousins is] a very intriguing guy. I respect him as a player, and I respect him more as a person.”

“We kind of messed up in Washington” is an admission that seems obvious to outside observers, but it’s still interesting to hear McCloughan say it. Yes, the team could and should have locked up Cousins for a cheaper rate years ago, a move that would have ended the uncertainty and kept costs under control. Bruce Allen might not ever admit this, but McCloughan just did.

McCloughan also was asked about Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo, which caused him to circle back to Cousins.

“He’s a lot like Kirk from the standpoint that he’s highly intelligent, he’s a great guy, he’ll never embarrass you on the field or off the field, he might make some mistakes,” McCloughan said. “It’s just at that position, everybody kind of panics. Which I understand, but you’ve got to be careful how much you give up [for a quarterback]. Because again, I think Jimmy’s a lot like Kirk from the standpoint: he’s gonna be good with [talented] guys around him. Ten guys on offense, 11 guys on defense, 11 guys on special teams. That’s how you win games, that’s how you stay consistent. I don’t see Jimmy or Kirk being … you can say ‘franchise [quarterback]’ all you want, because the money they’re getting, but that’s the market. But they need help around them to be successful.”

Again, maybe this is obvious: That Cousins is the sort of player who needs help around him to be successful, regardless of how large his paychecks eventually become. It’s still interesting to hear the former GM say it.

McCloughan also talked about his long-held belief that offensive and defensive linemen remain the key to success in the NFL.

“It all starts up front, offense or defense,” he said. ” If you can’t run the ball, if you can’t pass protect the quarterback — you have to start there. And once you do that — especially if you’re gonna play late in the season and get into bad weather games — you need to be able to run the ball and you need to be able to stop the run, because you can’t always throw it. You know, the game’s changed quite a bit since I’ve been in it, to where people want to throw it 35, 40 times [a game]. And we had success in Washington with that, and that’s [Coach] Jay Gruden’s kind of cup of tea. But I knew we would never be a real good team until we could establish the run and stopping the run.”

The Redskins are likely to again rely on the passing game this season and to again feature an uncertain running game. Which would qualify that as yet another interesting thought from the former GM.

More on the Redskins:

Redskins center Spencer Long sidelined following arthroscopic knee surgery

After two preseason games, here’s a projection of the Redskins’ 53-man roster

As Red Sox confront their former owner’s racist legacy, the Redskins should follow