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Five Takeaways: Kirk Cousins's Eagles Week Presser

Posted Sep 6, 2017

Redskins.com's Jake Kring-Schreifels provides five takeaways from Kirk Cousins's press conference at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun Co., Va.

Redskins.com's Jake Kring-Schreifels provides five takeaways from Kirk Cousins's press conference at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun Co., Va.


1. He’s done a better job handling the burnout from preseasons past.

One of the concerns that quarterback Kirk Cousins had after last season was his stamina. He noticed that he didn’t balance his time and energy in the most efficient way, leaving him feeling a little “burned out” facing the Steelers for the season opener.

As part of his ongoing evolution as a starting quarterback, Cousins took better care of himself during training camp and the preseason, managing how much energy he exerted throughout the grind of August.

“I would say I’ve done a better job managing it,” Cousins said. “I feel that each year I’m going to get better at handling my role and how to be best prepared each week. It’s been a good offseason, I’m ready to go. Feel like the last six weeks, through training camp and through preseason games, it’s never been perfect but it’s been a good six weeks. We’ve done all we can to be ready for this first game.”

Cousins did also mention that while his wife is expecting a baby very soon, he will react accordingly, which is a different kind of preparation.

“I think the plan is to not have a plan,” Cousins said. “In a sense that, if I can be there, I’m going to be there – if I can’t, I can’t. I’m going to get there as fast as I can, whenever my commitment is over.”

2. He’s still comfortable with Josh Doctson despite not playing with him much over the past month.

The most concern the offense might still have is how wide receiver Josh Doctson will fare after a lingering hamstring injury has sidelined him for most of the preseason. He’s missed all but three games over the last year, including a preseason game this year, which has cut down on time Cousins has had to gain a rapport with him.

Still, Cousins says he's comfortable with Doctson lining up with the offense, crediting his natural abilities as a receiver to help transcend the time lost.  

“He was able to watch last year and sit in on meetings and learn our offense,” Cousins said. “He knows what it should look like, he watched some really good players, some veteran players do it last year. It doesn’t take a lot of time to get him going. We just do need him out there for him to be able to show what he can do and really make a difference for our team and for our offense. I’m excited for that just like I’m sure the fan base is to see what he’s got in the tank. We’ve had a good week of practice here. We just got to continue to get him opportunities.”

As for what kind of natural instincts Doctson has shown, Cousins had a long list.

“Natural hands, tracks the ball well. He’s got good speed, he jumps well, great size, long arms,” Cousins said. “Smart player, laid-back personality, doesn’t take things too seriously in the sense that he just goes out there and enjoys the game and plays. He tracks the ball really well in the air, which is a tough skill to be able to have.”

3. The Eagles pass rush is something Cousins always has to respect.

Cousins said he could talk a lot about what the Eagles do on defense, but he emphasized the pass rush – not just the players, such as Fletcher Cox, but the scheme.

“I’ve always respected Coach Schwartz and their defense and the way they come after you,” Cousins said. “Just constantly put pressure, even sometimes with only three or four rushers, you still feel them. I’ve always respected Malcolm Jenkins as a safety and really the entire unit. I think Jordan Hicks is a very good ‘Mike’ linebacker – he’s a smart player, you can tell he’s a good leader for them. Mychal Kendricks has always been a guy that plays fast, plays downhill – he’ll strike you. Just a lot of respect all the way around. Very versatile players that can do multiple things. It’s going to be a good challenge."

While the Redskins have won the last five games against the Eagles, and Cousins has found success, he also knows that the Eagles have played intelligently against them.

“When you think about the fact that it’s now their second year in this scheme, that gives their team ability to get the personnel catered to what they want – and to have more experience,” he said. “It’s going to be a really good challenge, and it’s what you expect. Week 1, Redskins-Eagles. I think it’ll live up to how intense you expect it to be.”

4. He feels very good about his third down options with everyone healthy on the first-team offense

It’s no question Cousins is feeling more assured about Sunday knowing he will have all of his offensive weapons at his disposal. Injuries, for the most part, have subsided in time for the opener, and while there hasn’t been much time to find a rhythm, Cousins is looking forward to seeing what he can do with his numerous options.

Part of the equation will be relying on tight end Jordan Reed and running back Chris Thompson on third downs, two players who have become reliable targets when the offense is in a bind and needs a first down.

“I don’t feel a need to go look elsewhere to find somebody in those two roles,” Cousins said. “Both very natural, great players. I’m sure it helps to have other guys who complement them. Chris Thompson outside, with Terrelle [Pryor Sr.] and Josh Doctson and Ryan Grant and on and on – Vernon Davis. When you can have other guys thrown into the mix, it hopefully keeps defenses guessing, opens up lanes for Jamison [Crowder] and Jordan. They’re a big help to our offense. They show up in big moments, that’s what great players do. We’re going to need them to do that on Sunday.

“If we can stay healthy, it’s going to give us a major advantage later in the year. We work for that, train for that and we do have some depth, that’s going to be an advantage for us hopefully down the road. I’d like to think we get all of our guys going, spread the ball around, let them all show what they can do and give us a lot that the defense has to focus on.”

5. Cousins has a new nook and personal office space at the facility and he’s very excited about it.

Cousins posted a photo on Instagram recently about his excitement over a new small office at the Redskins’ facility. It provides Cousins an opportunity to prepare somewhere other than the quarterbacks room, which he cedes to other position groups during the week.

Now, he has all of his papers and binders and fun trinkets in one spot, and he couldn’t help but smile about all of it on Wednesday.

“I like a place to kind of leave my stuff and have notes and a white board and thoughts that I can have organized, old binders that I have kept and just have them stock piled up,” Cousins said. “There really wasn’t a place to do that, that I could have access to it at all times. We found an old - nook is the best word I can think of. It’s really not an office, but it works for me. Ms. Bj, our secretary, did a good job of getting it dressed up for me and we have talked about maybe putting saloon doors on it because there are no doors right now. We were told we won’t be able to put a door on it, so maybe saloon doors or maybe hippie beads coming down from the ceiling. I don’t know.”

On his desk sits a Jeff Foxworthy peel off calendar, some Michael Scott toys from The Office and a white board with a quote from Muhammad Ali.

“Essentially, it says the fight is won or lost long before I dance under the lights,” Cousins said. “That is what he used to say, so I put that there just as a reminder when I’m in there that often times the game can be won or lost right here when you see something or you find a tip or a piece of information that can make a difference. So, it is just a good reminder, I thought it was a fitting quote for what that room should be about.”

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