Former Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan continued his media tour this week with an appearance on Adam Schefter’s “Know Them From Adam” podcast, and the personnel man continued to drop interesting nuggets about his time with the Redskins.
He said, for example, that he was scouting a great number of college quarterbacks while he was still with the club last season, “just because of the uncertainty” involving the future of starter Kirk Cousins. Which prompted Schefter to ask whether McCloughan might have drafted a quarterback in last spring’s draft had he remained in Washington.
“You know what, probably,” McCloughan said. “Probably. Just because of the uncertainty. If it was worth it. Now, I’m going to take the best player; I’m not gonna force the issue for need, maybe until later on in the draft. The first four or five rounds, I’m taking the best football player, but you’ve still got to have in the back of your mind what might happen. Because Kirk was on the [franchise] tag, and you never know for sure. It’s not a perfect science. [If] you say ‘Okay, we’ve got him no matter what for the next three or four [seasons],’ then I would have changed, probably watching more defensive linemen. But I paid attention to probably 20 quarterbacks.”
The Redskins never took a quarterback. And McCloughan, as it turned out, was gone from the team before the draft and before its negotiations with Cousins proved fruitless, setting up another year of him playing on the tag. Schefter asked the former GM how he sees the Cousins situation playing out in the future.
“It’s going to be interesting, because he’s a loyal guy, very loyal, and he’s a really good person and a good football player,” McCloughan said. “It’ll be very interesting because I don’t know if feelings are hurt. But it’s going to be interesting because he’s going to say the right things no matter what to the media. I mean, that’s just him. That’s good, he should, and the Skins are the ones that drafted him and gave him an opportunity to be a starter for the last two years.
“I know he likes it there, and I know him and [Coach] Jay [Gruden] have a good relationship,” McCloughan said. “I know he had a really good relationship with [Rams Coach] Sean McVay, and I know he has a good relationship with [49ers Coach] Kyle Shanahan. So it’s going to be interesting. They have a tough schedule, but I think they’ll play well on offense. They’ve got enough weapons, especially with Jordan Reed coming back now. So [Cousins will] put up some good numbers, so it’s going to be interesting. They’re in a tough spot, the organization, because he has all the leverage.”
McCloughan again said he loved when Cousins screamed at him after the win over the Packers last November, telling Schefter “everybody thought he was taking a shot at me; he wasn’t. He’s a very emotional guy, a very fired-up, competitive guy. It was a big win. I didn’t mind it at all.”
And he delved into the organization’s decision to pick up Robert Griffin III’s fifth-year option in 2015, a decision that seemed curious at the time and in retrospect.
“The reason we did it is because we weren’t for sure knowing exactly what Kirk was, you know, so this was protection,” McCloughan said. “Some people in the organization thought Kirk wouldn’t succeed and Robert would come in and take the team over again. And I really couldn’t fight it too hard, because there wasn’t enough tape or enough layout for what Kirk was going to be to really sit there and say, ‘This is what’s gonna be.’ ”
(While the option was picked up in the spring, Cousins wasn’t named the starter until the end of August.)
McCloughan, who is again running his scouting service, made a few predictions at Schefter’s request, such as the NFL rookie of the year (Leonard Fournette) and the Super Bowl winner (the Oakland Raiders). He said he might still be open to taking another NFL job, although it would have to be “the right opportunity.”
“I’m a scout,” he said. “As a scout, they gave me a title, but I was still just a scout. It would have to be the right opportunity and the right structure and the right people.”
And when asked a slightly offbeat question — when was the last time he cried? — McCloughan returned to the Redskins.
“Probably when I walked out of the Redskins building,” he said. “Lot of good people there. A lot of really good people there. A lot of relationships you build with coaches, with players, with ownership, secretaries, janitors. And just knowing you’re leaving that and you’re not coming back to it — it’s just passion for the people that work so hard in the building.”
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