One year ago, quarterback
With the Redskins aggressively moving up to the No. 2 overall spot, he never envisioned his future ran through Washington.
“I thought that moment when I get picked it’s all going to be worth it when I’m laughing and hugging my family,” he recalled for ESPN’s Mike & Mike this morning. “I took the call from the Redskins and I’m just shocked and the living room where my family was kind of silent and I said, ‘I guess I got picked by the Redskins.’
But just as he had faced adversity head-on in the past, Cousins embraced his situation and quickly realized the benefits of his role in Washington.
“The coaching staff, the system I’m under, the players I get to be a part of. I love being part of the Washington D.C. area,” he said. “There are a lot of blessings and I do believe, like I said, I will get opportunities in D.C. to show what I can do.
“If I take advantage of those opportunities, I’ll get that chance to be a starter someday...I think patience is the name of the game--it’s a part of life. You wait your turn and right now I view my NFL career as a marathon, not a sprint.
"I may have to sit for a few years early on in my career, I believe that long-term that may be the best blessing that I could have. I do believe that the cream will always rise to the top so that if I’m good enough, I’m going to get my chance."
With Griffin III rehabbing from reconstructive knee surgery, Cousins will get an opportunity to show his work with the first string offense, starting next week.
Regardless of his long-term goals, Cousins said he has business to take care of with the Redskins.
“Right now, I just have to take it one day at a time. You’re only as good as your last performance and I’m going to get a few more performances with the Redskins before my time there is done,” he said. “I've still got some work to do.
“Teams may be interested down the road, there’s still just too much work to be done for me to start to count my eggs before they've hatched. I’m excited. I think there are good times ahead, but the work is still there to be done.”
He told ESPN’s NFL Live that he is less concerned on competition and more focused on improving the roster.
“I feel like any reps I get, I’m going to benefit from,” he said, before cracking a joke. “I almost feel like being around Robert and a guy like Pat [White], how athletic they are, I’m hoping it just by being around them I can pick up some speed.
“I feel like if I hang around fast guys, maybe I’ll get fast myself.”
Last offseason, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson dazzled fans with his swift recovery from ACL surgery and ensuing season for the ages.
Head coach Mike Shanahan told the NFL Network earlier this week that he expects Griffin III to set a new standard for recovery time, and Cousins agreed.
“I expect [Griffin III] to come back faster than most, from the fact that he’s such a special athlete,” he said. “Knowing that he’s been through this injury before, he knows how to listen to his body, he knows how to recover from this injury, and I believe that they will be very cautious.”
Kirk Cousins will spend the offseason preparing as the starter, but understands that when healthy,
“I expect [Griffin III] to be ready to go right around Week 1. I think he’ll be ready right about that time,” Cousins surmised. “I may not even know until the day before the first game if I’m going or not, I think it’s going to be that close.
“Certainly he’s going to do all he can to be ready to go, we know that. I’ve got to do all I can in case he’s not ready.”