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2017 Redskins Season In Review: Quarterbacks

Posted Jan 8, 2018

Kirk Cousins was once again one of the league's productive quarterbacks during the 2017 season, passing for more than 4,000 yards with a combined 31 offensive touchdowns.

Kirk Cousins was once again one of the league's productive quarterbacks during the 2017 season, passing for more than 4,000 yards with a combined 31 offensive touchdowns.


As the Redskins head into the offseason looking to get back to their winning ways, Redskins.com will provide position-by-position reflections from the 2017 squad.

Up first: the quarterbacks. 

REVIEW OF THE UNIT
For the third straight year, Kirk Cousins started every single regular season game under center for the Redskins. Unlike the previous two seasons, though, Cousins experienced significant changes around him on offense.

First, the Redskins lost veterans DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon in free agency, Washington’s starting wide receiver tandem for three years. Both players tallied 1,000-yard campaigns in 2016 before electing to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers respectively.

Then, Washington was battered by injuries throughout the year. In total, eight different running backs appeared alongside Cousins at some point during the season. But the injuries went beyond the running back position, as Washington had 36 offensive line combinations during the 2017 season, seven of which featured six-linemen sets.

Additionally, Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Reed and prized free agent signing Terrelle Pryor Sr. were among the 11 offensive players who landed on Injured Reserve during the regular season.

Despite all of the uncertainty and new faces around him, Cousins still managed to become the first Redskins quarterback in franchise history to throw for at least 4,000 yards in three straight seasons. Along with his 4,093 passing yards, Cousins passed for 27 touchdowns along with four rushing scores with a career-high 179 rushing yards.

“[He] did some great things – threw for over 4,000 yards and [27] touchdowns I believe, so I think he’s a very, very good quarterback, without a doubt,” said Redskins head coach Jay Gruden last week. “But, as far as getting us over the hump from 7-9 to winning the division with all the injuries we had, I think he competed and did some good things.”

As for McCoy, the eight-year veteran appeared in just one game, handing off the ball four times without attempting a pass.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE GROUP
As has been the case for the last two offseasons now, everything hinges on Cousins’ future in Washington.

After playing back-to-back seasons under the franchise tag – becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to do so – Cousins very well could be tagged a third time. Washington could also place the transition tag on the Michigan State product, leaving open the possibility that another team could sign him away.

But teammates remain hopeful that they can lock up the quarterback to a long-term deal, solidifying his position as Washington’s leader for years to come.

“He’s an amazing quarterback, he’s an elite quarterback in my eyes,” said tackle Morgan Moses. “He has the smarts, he has the tools, he gets the ball out of his hands fast, he’s able to read defenses, all the things you ask a quarterback to do in the NFL. I don’t know how it’s going to play out. It’s above my pay grade, but at the end of the day, it’s been an amazing journey to have him as my quarterback these last four years.”

Rookie center Chase Roullier, who started seven games, said Cousins helped ease his transition from Wyoming to the NFL.

“He helps so much in just being able to see things during the game,” Roullier said. “If I make a call that might be a little bit wrong, he’s right there behind me to fix that immediately. That helps so much when you have a quarterback that’s that smart behind you and is able to fix any little mistake you might make as a rookie center out there. He’s done a phenomenal job with that and he’s helped me just in the locker room in general, too. He’s always around, he’s just a great guy.”

While Cousins currently heads into the new league year without a contract, the Redskins will have McCoy on the roster after he signed a reported three-year deal in 2016.

McCoy has taken just four regular season snaps over the last two seasons now, but Gruden believes he can still be efficient if called upon for a heavier workload.

“I’m not saying Colt is the heir apparent and he’s going to start tomorrow. I just know that Colt’s been in the building and I have total faith that if he was given an opportunity, he would be ready to produce,” Gruden said. “That’s just how I feel about Colt. We’re not going to give the keys to him right now. We’re still trying to work things out with the other quarterback in Kirk and hopefully things will work out, but I know Colt is ready to play.”

Last week Washington added Stephen Morris to the roster as one of the team’s Reserve/Future signings. He has previously been a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts.

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