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Contract Talks Positive, But Kirk Cousins Focused On Improvement

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While Kirk Cousins is currently playing the 2016 season under the franchise tag, there is potential for a long-term deal to get done. Regardless, Cousins is focusing on on-field improvement.

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is looking to pick up right where he left off last season.

Whether that's on the franchise tag or under a new long-term deal, it won't change Cousins' approach towards the 2016 campaign.

Cousins, who is entering his fifth season with the Redskins, is currently the team's franchise tag player, but still could sign a long-term contract before the July 15 deadline.

"I've focused on trying to play well, let my play to do the talking, just try to get better, and allow the team and your agent to handle the rest," Cousins said Monday. "There's obviously plenty of time, and as a result I don't think a lot gets done or happens when you have plenty of time."

Cousins was named the team's starting quarterback for 2015 shortly before the season opener against the Miami Dolphins.

While he struggled some early in the season, collecting a 2-4 record through the first six games with eight interceptions, Cousins was perhaps the best quarterback in the second half of the year, leading the Redskins to an NFC East title and a four-game winning streak in the final quarter of the season.

He doesn't necessarily have any expectations in terms of his contract situation for the 2016 season, though.

"I think my expectations are I need to be getting better, I need to be working, I need to be improving, and I need to be developing myself as a player," Cousins said. "And then beyond that, I don't really expect or try to predict what is going happen."

Cousins did admit that he isn't afraid of change, however. He's experienced in quite a bit over the last nine months.

Check out the top images of Kirk Cousins from the 2015 season.

"Yeah, things were a lot different than they were a year ago and I'm sure a year from now they will be a lot different," Cousins said. "It's just nature of the business and the way things are and hopefully they move in a positive direction, but you never know and you have to be able to react accordingly. Hopefully the trajectory keeps going up, you never know and again, you just try to control what you can control and to do that which is to work really hard, try to lead, try to help teammates and if you do that trust that good things will happen."

Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan once again said Monday "it's an ongoing process," but he wants a "win-win" situation.

"For the organization, we are taking care of our franchise quarterback. For him, he's financially taken care of," McCloughan said. "You are dealing with another entity with the agent and they're thinking what they want to think, but you know it's back and forth. Every year it is going to be the same way at different positions."

Since offseason workouts opened up last month at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va., Cousins has been at the facility almost every day.

While Phase 1 workouts were just about strength and conditioning improvement, the team is inching closer to OTAs where he'll be able to buckle up his chinstrap once again and get right to work.

"It's a combination, but certainly always working to understand NFL defenses better and better coverage schemes, blitz schemes, understand defensive coordinators and what they like to do and what their tendencies are," Cousins said of what he's looking to improve on. "Also trying to understand my own teammates better, trying to develop a chemistry with hand signals and code words and route developments to just be on the same page at all times. Obviously we have a very good receiver and first-round pick coming in in Josh [Doctson], so just getting him up to speed and there's constantly ways to get better and it's not just focusing on myself, but focusing on us as a team and how we as a team can operate at our highest potential."

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