Currently in the last year of his rookie contract, Kirk Cousins is proving that he can be a quality starting quarterback in the NFL. The Redskins are hoping that his good play continues in Washington for years to come.
While Jay Gruden doesn't make the final decisions on player contracts, the Washington Redskins head coach would like to keep Kirk Cousins on the team past this season.
The 2012 fourth-round pick, who has started all nine games at quarterback for the Redskins this season, is in the final year of his rookie contract.
"The decisions that we make moving forward as far as contract obligations and signing people, obviously Kirk's a guy we'd like to keep around, no doubt," Gruden said on Monday. "But it'll be up to [general manager] Scot [McCloughan], Kirk's agent and Kirk."
Gruden said that when it comes to the "financial side of things" McCloughan and President Bruce Allen are the two individuals that handle player contracts.
From the on-set of his hiring in January, McCloughan made it clear that he was brought in to construct the best possible roster for the Redskins.
Gruden's job was to pick the coaches and how he wants to use each of the players at his disposal.
Cousins, who is in his first season as the Redskins' full-time starter at quarterback, has seen his stock skyrocket in recent weeks.
Through nine games, the Michigan State product has completed nearly 68 percent of his attempts for 2,278 yards and 14 touchdowns to nine interceptions.
Even more telling of his growth recently has been his production at home, as he's completed at least 80 percent of his passes in three of the last four games at FedExField while throwing nine touchdowns with no interceptions.
His growth and comfortability go far beyond what's been showing up in the stat sheet.
Against the New England Patriots two weeks ago, for example, he made some strong-armed, accurate throws that simply weren't caught.
"I just think he's making good decisions," Gruden said. "He's letting people around him do the work for him. You know, [Sunday's] a great example, hitting the check downs and the guys are running for 15 or 20 yards, hit a screen pass, you know, finding his outlets. He's taking shots when he needs to. 3rd-and-5 to DeSean [Jackson], found a great matchup, worked it, threw a perfect ball. You know, he's just making good decisions. That's what that position is all about."
With better decision making has also come the downtick in the rate at which Cousins was throwing interceptions.
In previous years, Cousins was trying to force throws into tight windows. When they were picked, Cousins would let the turnovers get to his head.
That's not the case now. With the reps comes better mental strength.
"I think by playing I'm getting better as a quarterback and I'm not going to be results-driven. I threw a few passes today that could have been picked off so I'm not going to go back and say, 'Oh, I didn't throw any interceptions today,'" Cousins said. I'm going to look back at the plays that could have been picked and say, 'How do I prevent those from happening moving forward?' I'm not going to be results-driven. There were plays the last couple of weeks that altered the game and there were picks that weren't necessarily my fault and I don't worry about those either. So, it's great to not have turnovers but you have to look at the why and what caused them and also even when there weren't turnovers today, what could I have done better to avoid the possibility of one."