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The Calm Down Bus

Well, after a few days to absorb the reality that we have the 'Rent-A-Starter’ plan in full effect at QB, one that could extend even into the 2018 season, I have decided to take a deep breath. Reading takes from less emotional rational types like Bulldog, Om, and Miles Monroe – I recognize that this is and likely will continue to be par for the course for our Redskins and that getting one’s panties in a wad is of no tangible benefit.

With any controversy, it is human nature to put a stake in the ground on one extreme corner of the debate or the other. But in most cases, this is a mistake – since inevitably the 'truth’ of any given situation is likely to be elusive and 'facts’ highly malleable dependent on which side of the argument one happens to be on.

I have mixed feelings about the team’s management of Kirk Cousins future as the Redskins franchise QB. On the one hand I recognize that the seeming unwillingness of an embattled Redskins Front Office to break the bank just for the sake of locking up an (to date) above average starting QB may in fact represent progress, not bungling dysfunction. By the same token, it has been the team’s indecisiveness that has undoubtedly gotten us to where we are. Instead of committing to and showing tangible belief in Cousins when he was affordable, they’ve strung this along. The team could’ve put this entire thing to rest more than a year ago by offering Cousins a lucrative LTD he couldn’t refuse. A 'lucrative’ deal then would be in 'bargain’ territory today. That almost indisputable fact alone should subject the Front Office to considerable doubt and criticism. But Bruce Allen and company didn’t do that. Perhaps the team suffers from a lingering hangover post-RG3 debacle. Burn me once, shame on you and so on. It would be understandable. But the team’s seeming condescension and anti-media tone lend one to believe their reticence to 'just pay the man’ is driven by other things, like ego, stubbornness, and a general belief by this Front Office that they are always smarter and savvier than everyone else in the room.

The most generous assessment is that the Redskins strategy to date has driven Cousin’s price tag exponentially and unnecessarily higher (perhaps prohibitively so). A less forgiving assessment is that their approach has created downright ill will with the young man, reinforcing his belief that the team undervalues and underappreciates him. Cousins is not nearly a diva of RG3 magnitude. But they do share one quality – the need to be loved, praised, and recognized. On this front, the Redskins appear to have failed. At the very least, I think the team has shown an utter inability to effectively express what their strategy to solidify the QB position is and to be able to manage the media view of these negotiations. If the DC and national sports media machine are sharks looking for blood, Snyder and Allen have spent most of their time chumming the Potomac when it comes to effective media and PR communication.

Where I struggle to jump on the 'calm down bus’ with the more steady amongst us, is embracing the idea that the Redskins will just find and plug-in a suitably competent successor if we are unable to bridge the divide and sign Cousins long-term. We got lucky with Cousins. Blind squirrel – meet acorn. We have a 20 year history of being unable to find a talented long-term starter under center. Bulldog and others will redirect me – the current regime has drafted well. It will be different this time. Will it though? Do we know that the current regime can identify, obtain, and keep talent? They did it with Scot McCloughan on board – but I don’t think we know whether they current leadership can do it – certainly not at the most critical and elusive position of them all. Put me on the 'show me wagon’ with Henry on that topic.

As for Cousins – he’s damaged his credibility with me. I’m sure he’ll lose sleep over that :) I understand looking out for your family and its financial security first. That’s the way it is and should be for all of us. In answer to those fans who ask why Cousins should work out a deal that pays him less than the best possible offer – I say this. Loyalty matters. Gratitude matters. Teammates and fans matter. And Cousins has been the beneficiary of opportunity, support, financial security, and commitment almost every step of the way since being named starter. Sure, the team has 'low-balled’ him to date. They haven’t done what needed to be done to show the man ultimate love. But this is the team that gave Kirk Cousins his opportunity. They ran a star they spent a fortune to get out of town to give him his opportunity. And they’ve already made him one of the richest players in the NFL.

Where’s the loyalty, gratitude, and commitment from Kirk Cousins? Is money the only thing that matters? Leaving for the biggest payday will hurt this team, hurt the fans who have supported him, and hurt his teammates. Where’s the focus on those things from Cousins? Of course, Cousins swears he wants to be a Redskin and will negotiate. So far, the facts belie those assurances. If it turns out he means what he says, I’ll get down on my knees and apologize I ever beat on the guy. But right now, he strikes me as insincere and self-focused. I hope he proves me wrong.

But it’s time to move on. He’s our QB in 2017. He may still be our QB in 2018. Being nothing but a lowly and powerless fan, I have no choice but to root for my team, pray to the football Gods that they not throw me back down into the abyss, and hope it inexplicably somehow all works out.

You know. Because I’m a fan of the Washington Redskins. And it's what we do.
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