ASHBURN, Va. — After a loss to New England last season, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins posed a question to the three-time Super Bowl MVP who plays his position for the Patriots.

“I remember when I asked Tom Brady after the game last year, ‘When did it click for you?’ In a sense, I asked him, ‘When were you no longer a work-in-progress?’ And his answer was what I would echo here: ‘It’s still clicking.’ You’ve never figured it out. You’ve never arrived,” Cousins said Wednesday. “And the minute you think you have is probably when you’re going to be gone.”

So he is still hoping to improve. And Redskins coach Jay Gruden says his QB is still growing.

It places Cousins in a bit of an awkward spot as he tries to prove, once again, he deserves a long-term contract while playing out one season under the franchise tag of just under $20 million.

Both the player and team will hope that next Sunday’s game against the visiting Dallas Cowboys, featuring a pair of NFC East teams that are 0-1, works out better than Week 1: Cousins threw two interceptions, didn’t have a touchdown pass, and the Redskins lost 38-16 to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night.

Asked if he thought Cousins appeared tentative, Gruden replied: “a little bit.”

“Not scoring a touchdown until late there in the game and having some opportunities to make some plays that we didn’t make — we’re a little disappointed with the performance of everybody on offense,” the coach said. “He missed some throws that he normally makes, which I’m sure that he regrets and wishes he had back.”

As for how he would rate Cousins’ showing against Pittsburgh, Gruden said, “I don’t grade A, B, C, D, E and F. This isn’t college or high school. But he understands that his performance has got to improve, as does everybody on this football team, including the coaches.”

Cousins went 30 of 43 for 329 yards, which doesn’t seem awful at first glance.

But there were mix-ups with receivers, cadence confusion that contributed to five false-start penalties, some throws that were off-target, the turnovers and lack of production in the red zone, including a pair of early drives that ended with field goals.

“I’ll always view myself as a work-in-progress,” Cousins said, “and I think that’s how other people can view me, too.”

Notes: DL Cullen Jenkins practiced Wednesday after re-signing with the team. He was released on cutdown day, Sept. 3. Gruden said the coaching staff would determine whether to have him on the active roster Sunday after seeing “where he stands as far as knowing the defense and what kind of shape he’s in again.” … DEs Chris Baker (rib, elbow) and Kendall Reyes (groin) and RT Morgan Moses (knee strain) were limited in practice Wednesday.


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