- - Sunday, January 7, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

What would be worse for Washington Redskins fans than seeing their starting quarterback, Kirk Cousins, leave for free agency?

How about Bill Belichick coming to coach division rival New York Giants in the NFC East?

What would be worse for Redskins fans than seeing their starting quarterback leave for free agency and then have Belichick coming to coach in the NFC East?

How about Cousins leaving to sign as a free agent with the Giants and play for Belichick?

I believe the only other scenario worse for Redskins fans would be the return of Vinny Cerrato as the team’s personnel boss.

This scenario may be just that — one scenario out of many that are possible, some more likely than others. And the most likely scenario may still be that Belichick, with his five Super Bowl titles, stays in New England, where he has built an organization unmatched in the NFL.

But Belichick’s future suddenly seems in play, with the report that there is real turmoil within the Patriots organization over tensions between the coach, owner Robert Kraft and NFL MVP-to-be quarterback Tom Brady. Enough turmoil, according to the ESPN report, to entertain the possibility that Belichick, who has little patience for such drama — would consider leaving for the right opportunity.

The Giants, with a head coaching vacancy, may be the right opportunity.

Long time New York Daily News columnist Gary Myers, who has written several books about NFL coaches and coaching, writes that Belichick would be interested in the Giants job if he leaves New England. It was in New York, with Bill Parcells, that Belichick made his reputation as a genius defensive coordinator.

“I’m sure Bill knows this is his last chance to be the Giants coach,” a source close to Belichick told Myers. “Bill sees an opening — an opening to get to the Giants.”

It gets a little tenuous after that. Myers wrote that the source has not spoken to Belichick since the explosive ESPN report surfaced, but he is “very familiar” with Belichick’s desire to coach the Giants. “The Giants are the only place he wants to be.”

Bill Belichick. Five Super Bowl championships with the Patriots, plus two more rings as the Giants defensive coordinator in 1986 and 1991. Seven AFC championships. A 250-118 coaching record in the regular season, 26-10 in the postseason.

This guy? Coaching twice a year against the Redskins and Jay Gruden or whoever winds up replacing Jay Gruden?

A nightmare scenario.

Let’s make it worse — his quarterback is Cousins.

If this scenario unfolds and Belichick does find his way to New York, he’s not coming there to coach 37-year-old Eli Manning, another member of the NFL senior citizens quarterback club. He’ll want a quarterback.

Belichick loves Cousins.

Before the Redskins-Patriots game in 2015, Belichick, a man of few words, couldn’t shut up in his praise of Cousins in his weekly conference call with reporters.

“I think he does a lot of things well, seems like a really smart guy who manages the offense well,” Belichick said. “He’s pretty athletic even though he hasn’t run a lot, but he moves around quite a bit. They run bootleg moving pocket plays, things like that, so he definitely has quickness to create a little extra time to throw and does a good job of finding and using all his receivers, backs and tight ends and multiple wide-outs.

“He does a good job at finding and using all his receivers,” Belichick continued. “Running backs, tight ends and multiple wideouts — they play a lot of people in the passing game and he can get the ball to them. He definitely spreads it around, they’ve done a good job of controlling the clock, hitting passes to keep drives going, third down has been good, they’re one of the better third-down teams in the league and one of the better red-area teams in the league, so I think that counts a lot for a quarterback to make plays in those situations when the coverage is tight and there is less space to throw.

If Belichick had said such nice things about Tom Brady, maybe he wouldn’t be having these problems with his quarterback in New England.

This Belichick infatuation with Cousins goes back to the time the Redskins and Patriots trained together in Richmond in 2014, when ESPN reported that Patriots coaches were far more impressed with Cousins than Robert Griffin III. And let’s not forget that Belichick is a long-time admirer and friend of one of Cousins‘ biggest fans — Mike Shanahan.

Belichick may ultimately stay put with the place where he has had unprecedented success — New England. But there was a day — one single day — when Belichick was head coach of the New York Jets. Then, he wasn’t.

He’s not afraid of change, if he decides something isn’t the right fit.

Belichick as head coach of the Giants would fit like a noose around the neck of Redskins fans.

Thom Loverro hosts his weekly podcast “Cigars & Curveballs” Wednesdays available on iTunes, Google Play and the reVolver podcast network.


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