Kirk Cousins believes Jay Gruden’s experience as a quarterback will help his development. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Backup quarterback Kirk Cousins said he was encouraged by the selection of Jay Gruden as the next head coach of the Washington Redskins, and the fact that tight ends coach Sean McVay is expected to remain on staff and take on offensive coordinator duties.

Cousins, who is entering his third season, closed out the 2013 as the starter for the final three games.

It remains to be seen if the Redskins will keep him or trade him to a quarterback-needy team this offseason. But for now, Cousins is preparing as if he will remain with the team that drafted him in the fourth round out of Michigan State in 2012.

Cousins said that Gruden’s resume both as a player and a coach serves as a plus for him and his fellow quarterbacks.

“It’s nice that the head coach has played quarterback and understands the quarterback position, and personally, I think that’s a good thing for us quarterbacks,” he said.
Gruden spent the last three seasons guiding the Cincinnati Bengals’ offense. He like Mike Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan are extensions of the Bill Walsh West Coast offense family. Cousins said that from his observations of the Bengals’ offense run by quarterback Andy Dalton under Gruden, a number of similarities exist, and that could make for a smoother transition.

“I always felt like it was good to watch our opponents versus Cincinnati because through a formations and pass concepts standpoint, and even from the type of quarterback that Andy is, I felt like it always gave me a good look of what I would see if I were to play on game days,” Cousins said. “My experience with their offense has been watching it on film and studying the defense they’ve played. For example, we played Chicago this year. I watched a lot of Cincinnati film against Chicago. Obviously, the first thing that stands out to you is the number of weapons they have to get the ball to. But certainly, I always felt like if I were to pick a team in the league that most closely resembled what we did, I would personally say that Cincinnati is right up there with anybody.”

Many of the Redskins’ skill players share Cousins’ sentiments on Gruden and the similarities of his passing attack.

Wide receiver Pierre Garcon also expects a smooth transition, and for that to help the offense to develop into a more potent unit.

“Man, I am real excited about Coach Gruden and what he brings to the Redskins and our quest for a Super Bowl,” he said.

Cousins added that McVay will also serve as a valuable asset in his expanded role.

“I think the positives with Sean as an offensive coordinator, aside from the fact that it’s going to be continuity — from my standpoint, two years’ worth of understanding of what I can do, and even more so with other players — is Sean is extremely positive, and players in general have a good relationship with him, enjoy playing for him and speak well of him,” Cousins said. “He’s very, very intelligent. Sometimes I have to say to Sean, ‘Slow down, and put that in my terms.’ Because, he knows football so well that he can talk football as well with anyone. So, I think his energy, how positive he is, and the fact that he’s so intelligent, I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for him and the beginning of a very, very good career.”