Ever since quarterback Robert Griffin III, a.k.a. RG3, fizzled like a Pop Rock in a soda can, the Washington Redskins have leaned heavily on Kirk Cousins to get the job done. Last season they finished a respectable 8-7-1. This season, they’re just 3-3 in the NFC East—good for third place—and fans are starting to grumble again.
But is it really his fault? ESPN The Magazine‘s Kevin Van Valkenburg wrote an in-depth feature on the rocky relationship between Cousins and his team’s front office since Day 1. RealClearLife has teased out some of the most interesting parts of the feature below.
-Way back in 2012, when Cousins got his first start in place of RG3 and threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns, he got a ton of love from his teammates, but when Redskins owner Dan Snyder and president Bruce Allen walked through the locker room, they walked right past him. They were more concerned about RG3’s health than Cousins’ potentially breakout performance.
-What the Redskins’ front office didn’t realize was that Cousins was the heir apparent, not RG3. “Kirk dealt with a lot that we don’t know about,” Santana Moss, the former Redskins wide receiver, told ESPN The Magazine. “It was sad. We all heard the whispers.”
-Cousins told the magazine that it’d taken him a long time to realize his own potential. “A large number of quarterbacks have a confidence that is borderline out of touch with reality,” he says. “They have that naturally. For me, it took playing and having experience to build that confidence.”
-Given the holes in the quarterback position right now, which apparently will not be filled by Colin Kaepernick, 2018 will be a seller’s market, and Cousins could cash in, becoming one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the league. (He was reportedly offered just $12 million by the ‘Skins in 2016 for a long-term deal.)
-Of Robert Griffin III, former head coach Mike Shanahan says, “Robert was a diva to everyone, not just Kirk. …His teammates all knew. Kirk handled that situation like a pro, and all his teammates could see it.”
-Everything isn’t as bleak as it appears; Cousins says he “over” the initial locker room snub, and that Snyder has taken him out for dinner and had an open line of communication with him. Might Cousins stick around in D.C.? It remains to be seen.