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Matt Cavanaugh Happy With Kirk Cousins' Development In First Season


Matt Cavanaugh was happy with the development of Kirk Cousins during his first season as quarterbacks coach with the Redskins.

When the Redskins brought in Matt Cavanaugh to fill the vacancy at quarterbacks coach at the beginning of 2015, he inherited a offense that was coming off of a 4-12 campaign.

Cavanaugh, who brought 22 years of professional coaching experience with him to Washington, used his talent accrued as both an NFL quarterback and coach to help Kirk Cousins develop his skills and emerge as a the true starting quarterback for the Redskins.

The development of the offense and Cousins specifically was something that Cavanaugh was proud of in his first season in Washington, and he believes created a solid foundation going forward.

"I'm extremely happy that we're making strides, and there's a lot of work to do yet, but I think Kirk stepped up big time given the chance to be the full-time starter," Cavanaugh told Larry Michael on "Redskins Nation" last month. "The guys around him played fantastic, he was protected well, guys got open, so I think there's a big upside."

Even though Cousins undeniably got better during his first season under the direction of Cavanaugh, there is still more work to be done and Cavanaugh believes that the offseason is crucial for Cousins' development.

"There's experiences that he had that he wants to improve on, it could be not having his feet set and making a throw or trying to avoid somebody in the pocket and getting reset and making a throw, changing a protection, hitting certain throws down in the red zone that he wants more work on," Cavanaugh said. "So there's a bevy of things we have to work on and those extra reps during the offseason will be critical."

According to Cavanaugh, Cousins is a true student of the game, noting that he has a thirst for information and a strong desire to improve.

"He's excellent, he really is, he's got a nice method to how he prepares, he's got a nice little schedule that he works very closely and holds himself accountable that he's putting 'X' amount of time into each phase of our game," Cavanaugh said. "And he's never at a loss for questions and we try and get him all the answers."

Even though Cousins is serious and level-headed on the field, Cousins' now infamous "You Like That" outburst didn't seem to catch Cavanaugh off-guard.

"A little bit, only from the standpoint of he doesn't show that emotion all the time and I think it's his way of saying I'm happy with what just happened," Cavanaugh said. "I'm proud of where we're going and that's about as much as you'll get out of him. It's not going to be a daily thing with him, but I think there was probably so much relief that we had a nice comeback win and he was excited about leading the team and it was an emotional moment for him, it's okay."

Carrying that enthusiasm into the 2016 season is something that Cavanaugh is excited about, but emphasizes that the team cannot be satisfied with just one NFC East title in a row.

"We don't take anything for granted; we have a lot of work to do," Cavanaugh said. "We have a lot of faith in our administration, we have a lot of faith in our personnel department, we trust our players and we as coaches enjoy the offseason because we get to study other teams, try to get better, get better with what we've been doing, maybe explore some new avenues and there's a lot of work to do yet but a lot of excitement."



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