Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins guided a prolific offensive unit during the 2016 that broke the single-season record for total net yards with 6,454.
For the second consecutive year, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins has been named the team's Bobby Mitchell Offensive Player of the Year.
After a breakout season during the 2015 season – his first as a full-time starter in the NFL -- Cousins continued his strong play in 2016, as the 28-year old completed 406-of-606 pass attempts (67 percent) for 4,917 yards, 25 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions.
Cousins also recorded four rushing scores.
In November, Cousins became the first player in franchise history to win multiple NFC Offensive Player of the Month Awards, as he went 84-of-116 and threw for 1,086 yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions in three games during the month against the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys.
Cousins also recorded at least a 110 passer rating in all three games and his 362.0 passing yards per game led all NFL quarterbacks in the month of November.
In January, Cousins was also named to the 2017 Pro Bowl, becoming the first Washington quarterback to play in the game since Brad Johnson in 1999.
Over the last two seasons, Cousins has led the Redskins to a 17-14-1 regular season record and an NFC East title in 2015. The back-to-back winning seasons are Washington's first in 20 years.
"I have a lot of respect for Kirk and what he's done and what he's accomplished in a short period of time," said Redskins head coach Jay Gruden. "I'm very happy that he's our quarterback. He's improved greatly. He's got great command of the offense and he's getting better. He's a young football player, so that's where we are. We've got him here for another year. I'm going to coach the heck out of him."
This offseason, Cousins has impressed new quarterbacks coach Kevin O'Connell with his calm demeanor and ability to show solid decision-making under pressure. O'Connell's hope is that this will equate to an even better season in 2016.
Check out behind the scenes images from Quarterback, Kirk Cousin's 2017 Redskins Photo Shoot.
"It seems like he really understands what we are trying to get accomplished with each individual play," O'Connell said. "Both in the pass game and in the run game and he's doing a tremendous job of controlling things and getting us into the right plays, getting us into the right protections. Then when it's time to make a decision and make a throw, he's doing a really good job being accurate with the football and moving the team on a daily basis."
One player that Cousins worked extensively with during the offseason months was new wide receiver Terrelle Pryor Sr., who signed with the Redskins during free agency.
Pryor posted a 1,000-yard campaign in his first full year at wide receiver with the Cleveland Browns in 2016. But with DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon no longer in Washington, Cousins wanted to quickly build a relationship with Pryor. So the two worked out together privately before offseason workouts kicked into full gear at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
"Kirk is building trust in myself and all of the other receivers, and I think that's all it is, spending time off the field and away from the facility together," Pryor said. "I think that just builds trust, and you know that I have his back and he has mine, so I think it's that type of deal, and I think that's a must."
While Cousins is entering a second season playing under the franchise tag – a first in NFL history among quarterbacks – cornerback Josh Norman is confident No. 8 will continue to put Washington's offense in a position to put up points.
"Man, he's our quarterback," Norman said in the offseason. "He is manning [it] back there and like I said, I don't see anything changing with that and I love that guy to death."