Jay Gruden feels Redskins 'definitely' improved at QB with Alex Smith over Kirk Cousins

During the Washington Redskins’ contract fiasco with quarterback Kirk Cousins the past few years, there was always a sense the team never really loved him as a franchise quarterback for whatever reason.

Cousins left via free agency, signing with the Minnesota Vikings for the largest contract on a per-year basis in NFL history. That was after the Redskins traded for his replacement, landing Alex Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs.

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While that appears like a lateral move at quarterback for Washington, Redskins coach Jay Gruden said “without a doubt” that his team was better at quarterback with Smith replacing Cousins.

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Cousins has a better career passer rating (93.7 to 87.4), yards per game (261.4 to 204.4), completion percentage (65.5 to 62.4), touchdown percentage (4.7 to 4.0) and yards per attempt (7.7 to 6.9) than Smith. To say you “definitely” improved based on Smith’s credentials fails to pass any sort of scrutiny.

Smith is a good quarterback and Washington did well to grab him in a trade, though it wasn’t cheap. He is coming off a very good season and is getting better in his mid 30s. He also had a much better supporting cast in Kansas City than Washington has, and that played a factor for both quarterbacks. Smith will have a much tougher time duplicating his 2017 numbers without Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Gruden might find out that Cousins throwing for 4,093 yards and 27 touchdowns with Washington’s ragged offensive talent was actually pretty darn good.

It’s not outrageous to think Smith is comparable to Cousins or even a little better. But “without a doubt” better? No. Gruden has to side with his new quarterback, because he has no choice, but it underscores the point that the Redskins seemed to never truly realized what they had in Cousins.

That doesn’t really matter anymore. Cousins moved on to a team that clearly valued him. And Gruden feels he has a better quarterback. We’ll all surely be tracking how that turns out.

Former Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and coach Jay Gruden before a game last season. (AP)
Former Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and coach Jay Gruden before a game last season. (AP)

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!