Regardless of whether or not he signs a long-term contract this summer, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is ready to see Washington build off back-to-back winning campaigns.
Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins believes he's "in a good place right now" as he entering the 2017 season, his second consecutive season playing under the franchise tag.
"I like Coach Jay Gruden's quote [on Monday] where he said, 'I'm not really worried about it because we got him for this year and that's really all that matters,'" said Cousins on "Redskins Nation" this week. "That's the way I've always felt. There are so many guys on this team on one-year deals. Even if it says it's a three or four-year contract, really the only guarantees are this year. Many of us are playing on one-year deals. I'm not the only one and we're not going to have careers if we don't have a great year this year, so we all don't look much further than this season.
Cousins, of course, will be the Redskins' starting quarterback once again after earning the position coming out of the preseason in 2015.
Experiencing mixed results through the first six games of the 2015 season, Cousins caught fire in a 31-30 comeback victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Trailing 24-0 at one point, Cousins threw three touchdown passes in the second half – including one with 24 seconds to play – to put Washington ahead in an improbable win.
Starting with that breakout performance, Cousins has been one of the league's best quarterbacks, as he's led the Redskins to 15-10-1 record over the last 26 regular season games, passing for 7,663 yards with 48 touchdown passes to just 15 interceptions.
Additionally, Cousins has been named NFC Offensive Player of the Month twice and has been selected as a "Top 100" player with back-to-back appearances on the annual ranking compiled by NFL Network.
For now, though, Cousins remains only locked into the one-year contract under franchise tag rules. While Gruden remains hopeful that the Redskins can come to a long-term agreement prior to the July 15 deadline for new deals with franchise tagged players, the head coach wants Cousins to just focus on his on-field production right now.
"He's got two good years under his belt in our system and I think it's going to be very good for him," Gruden said. "You're going to see major growth from him again. I would love to have him for a long-term deal, but this is the year I'm worried about."
And at just 28 years old and only a full-time starter for two seasons, Cousins admits he's "still a work in progress" but is eager to see the offense progresses under his guidance this season.
Gone are 1,000-yard wide receivers Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson along with offensive coordinator Sean McVay. While the trio was key to a powerful offensive attacks over the last two years, the Redskins have players and coaches ready to step up and produce.
Washington signed Terrelle Pryor Sr. following a 1,000-yard season of his own with the Cleveland Browns last year and Josh Doctson has returned healthy following a rookie season plagued by Achilles issues.
The Redskins also promoted veteran NFL coach Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator after working with Washington's quarterbacks the last two seasons.
Cousins said a lot of the offensive system and play calling terminology will remain the same, but offseason workouts are giving the players time to mesh.
"It's about a process," Cousins said. "It's about what can we do on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday here in the spring that gives us a chance in the fall to win games and that's what I am excited about. I feel the stars on the team, the Josh Normans and the Terrelle Pryors are coming in working hard, checking their egos at the door and just showing up being great teammates and great leaders, that's a great step."