Kirk Cousins: Talent can make average quarterbacks look good

Set to play under the $20 million franchise tag in 2016, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is coming off the best season of his career.

The former fourth-round pick put up 4,166 yards with 34 total touchdowns and 11 interceptions while completing a league high 69.8 percent of his passes en route to leading Washington to the NFC East title.

While Cousins’ salary suggests he was the primary reason for the Skins’ surprising success last season, he’s more than willing to give other players most of the credit.

“When you’ve got talent around you, some average quarterbacks can look pretty good, and vice versa,” Cousins said, via the team’s official website. “When you’re a very, very talented quarterback, if you don’t have a lot of guys out there to help you, it’s going to be tough to look the part.”

Talk about a grounded take on his performance. Washington did not have a 1,000-yard rusher or a 1,000-yard receiver last season. Despite this, it finished in the top 10 in both points scored and total offense.

The question here isn’t Cousins’ 2015 performance. By all accounts, he was among the top quarterbacks in the NFL.

Instead, it’s all about whether he can maintain this high level of play. After all, the former Michigan State standout had tallied a 2-7 record with 18 touchdowns and 19 interceptions in nine career starts prior to last season.

The talent is most definitely there for Cousins and the Redskins to build off that surprising 2015 campaign.

DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon return as the team’s starting receivers. Rookie sensation Jamison Crowder, who caught nearly 80 percent of the passes thrown to him last year, now has a full offseason to work with Cousins.

Meanwhile, the team selected former TCU stud Josh Doctson in the first round of last month’s draft.

We might not know if Cousins will be a consistent above-average quarterback throughout his career. But we do know that everything is in place for him to succeed.

If he’s going to cash in on the open market next year, that success must be obvious on the field came the regular season.