Mike Shanahan: Redskins' Kirk Cousins will be a top-10 QB in NFL

Good news, beleaguered Redskins fan: the man responsible for bringing both Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins to Washington thinks Cousins will be one of the NFL's best quarterbacks.

That's right, Mike Shanahan, who was fired as Redskins coach after the 2013 season, told NFL Network's Dan Hellie on Monday: "Kirk Cousins is a franchise quarterback. He will be a top-10 quarterback in this league, no doubt about it."

Shanahan's comments come hours after current Redskins coach Jay Gruden announced that Cousins, and not Griffin, would be the starter in 2015.

Back in 2012, Shanahan and the Redskins traded up to No. 2 in the draft to take Griffin, but also used their fourth-round pick on Cousins. At the time, Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell called the move "utterly moronic," though Cousins has provided depth behind an oft-injured Griffin. In three seasons, Cousins started nine games -- including five a season ago -- but like RG3, he has struggled with consistency. In fact, according to Football Outsiders, Cousins' career is most similar to Kevin Kolb.

Clearly, Shanahan thinks Cousins' best football is ahead of him, something the coach repeated earlier this month.

"I think Kirk Cousins has got a big-time future," Shanahan told 106.7 The Fan on Aug. 14, via the Washington Post. "He's a starter in the National Football League, and that'll be proven out in time. ... He's going to have a great career as a starter."

Cousins' numbers to date suggest otherwise but Shanahan explains that a balanced offense is the key.

"If you put a guy like Kirk Cousins in and you run the ball 30 to 35 times a game, and then you look back at the success that he had, you’d say, holy cow, look at those stats -- when it’s a balanced offense,” Shanahan said at the time. “You can’t put in a guy that’s started nine games in the National Football League and ask him to win games week in and week out in the passing game. It just doesn’t work that way.”

For now, former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman remains convinced that the Redskins are more dysfunctional than the Kardashians.

The Redskins are Kirk Cousins' team now. (USATSI)
The Redskins are Kirk Cousins' team now. (USATSI)
CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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