The questions always come in rapid succession — a constant flurry of inquiries centered around one singular theme: Kirk Cousins’s future with the Washington Redskins.
It’s been a topic of conversation as long as Jay Gruden has been Washington’s head coach. But with the 2017 season coming to a close with Sunday’s finale against the New York Giants — and the organization’s plans for Cousins still unclear — Gruden has had to field even more questions about potentially losing his starting quarterback in the offseason.
On Wednesday, the coach reiterated his desire to keep Cousins in the fold, adding that the six-year veteran knows how much he values him: “I’m sure he knows [how I feel]. I mean, he should know. I’ve made it clear.
“I’ve been working with him for a long time now and we’ve put a lot of time and a lot of work together with one another trying to get him better, and he’s made me better. So that’s worked out very well. Of course he knows that we want him back, but at the end of the day, like I said, agents, everybody gets involved and he’s got to make a decision for himself.”
Cousins could opt to sign a long-term deal with the Redskins or another team this offseason. Or the organization could use the franchise tag on him a third time, which would result in Cousins remaining in Washington for one more season at a $34.5 million price tag.
It’s unclear where both sides currently stand — whether the front office wants to commit more money to the 29-year-old signal-caller or if Cousins even wants to continue his career with Washington. The uncertainty surrounding the ongoing saga has meant Gruden has had to discuss the topic ad nauseam.
Asked if it would make his life easier if he didn’t have to answer so many questions about his quarterback’s future, Gruden said: “My life is only easier when you win a lot of games and Super Bowls. Until that happens, my life will never be easy.
“I’m going to coach the players that are here and adjust from there. But every year, there’s change in the NFL and it’s something you have to expect and understand as a head coach. And you have to adjust with the players that you have and the coaches that you have in the building. We intend on doing that and hopefully it won’t be wholesale changes, but sometimes that’s necessary also.”
Cousins, a former fourth-round pick out of Michigan State, acknowledged Wednesday he wasn’t particularly confident in his abilities when he first was drafted by Washington in 2012.
Since then, however, he’s steadily improved thanks to the tutelage of his coaches, Gruden included.
Gruden, however, quickly shot down the notion that he deserves credit for his quarterback’s development.
“He doesn’t owe me anything,” Gruden said. “Why would he owe me something? Kirk doesn’t owe anybody [anything] … Kirk’s put so much into making himself a great player that he’s made himself who he is. We just try to give him information to help him succeed along the way and surrounded him with good people. And he’s made people around him better in turn and made me better, made other coaches better, and also made some players around him better. It’s worked hand in hand.”
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