This is the sort of game that can propel a season to good things. If the Washington Redskins can beat the Philadelphia Eagles, the Redskins suddenly look like a different team. It's not just because Kirk Cousins is in, either. A 2-1 record with a chance to get to 3-1 Thursday? Big deal. Especially with a schedule that looks a little different, with Arizona even more banged up, Tampa Bay struggling and Minnesota minus its best player. Of course, by the time Washington faces those teams who knows how the Redskins will look (or those teams for that matter). But the tone and outlook of the season can change with a win Sunday, especially if Cousins has a solid day.
For much of Paul's first three years in Washington, "whatever it takes" meant a lot of blocking and a heavy special teams workload. In the summer of 2012, it meant gaining weight and switching positions from wide receiver to tight end. And on Sunday, it meant not just stepping in for injured starter Jordan Reed, but also making an impact in that role.
The key for Cousins will be limiting turnovers; he has 10 interceptions and four fumbles in nine career games. Gruden also said he wants Cousins to "manage the game." In other words, make sound decisions, minimize the miscues and trust weapons like DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon, Andre Roberts and Alfred Morris to make plays.