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Five Takeaways: Kirk Cousins's Vikings Week Presser

Posted Nov 8, 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. Cousins didn’t let his feelings about Sunday’s victory linger too long.

Because he’s matured as a player in the league, and because he’s been a part of some important team victories over the last couple of seasons, Sunday’s win in Seattle, while a great achievement, hasn’t prevented him from moving mentally on to this week’s preparation.

“I think we’ve played long enough and had big wins and mountain-top moments that you learn how to come down from it and get back to work,” Cousins said. “However long you celebrate, I believe that by Tuesday’s meetings and walkthrough, you’re onto Minnesota and ready to go. I think we’ve learned how to ride that rollercoaster or not ride it, if you will, as you go through the season.”

After eight games, and with the plethora of injuries the Redskins have suffered, Cousins is optimistic that the team is in a position to make a playoff run with eight games remaining.

“With the benefit of hindsight, you see we’ve played some good opponents, we’ve played them tough, we’ve got some good wins, had a couple games that we feel like we probably could have, should have, won, which every team has at this juncture,” Cousins said. “We’ve also won some games that you could’ve, should’ve lost, potentially. So when everything is right in front of you and you have a chance and you’re playing for something with eight games to go, I think that’s a starting point. As long as we can control our destiny with the games left to play, there’s not a whole lot more you can ask for.”

2. His throw to Brian Quick at the end of Sunday’s game was necessitated by the urgency of the situation.

With pressure in his face, Cousins unleashed a floater toward the right sideline that Quick caught for 31 yards, later saying he had to look through players’ legs to see if Quick came down with the pass. The throw was a risk considering he and Quick haven’t connected much, but with just more than a minute remaining, Cousins needed to unleash it.

“It was man coverage and when you have man coverage, you can put it out there and hopefully trust your receiver to create some separation and know that there is not going to be another zoning defender falling off of his area and intercepting it,” Cousins said.

At this point in his career, Cousins said he has gotten better about knowing which of three outcomes – take a sack, leave the pocket or throw the ball blindly – he should choose based on the coverage he sees.

“That one I threw blind,” Cousins said. “That one I’m saying I’m going to throw it to a spot with a lot of anticipation and hope for the best. At that point in the game, taking a sack is going to kill us. The clock is going to run and we have got to burn a timeout. Situational awareness, you can’t take a sack there. First quarter, I’m not throwing that ball probably. I’m probably going to take a sack and give us a chance. I’m not going to force the ball down the field and risk an interception. So those are the kinds of things you’re trying to process as you play.”

3. Cousins is feeling good despite not feeling well on Sunday and taking a bunch of hits from the Seahawks defense.

Cousins mentioned he was playing a little under the weather on Sunday, which was compounded with six sacks and lots of pressure in his face as he threw the football. Now that the Redskins have crossed the midway point, Cousins took stock of his own health Wednesday and said he felt as good as he could through eight games.

“I’ve always felt like the 16-game season is a grind and I don’t know that I’ve ever gone through one where I’m feeling great every single week, but you also understand that that’s a part of the NFL season,” Cousins said. “You expect it, and so when it does happen and you do get a little worn down, you’re not caught off-guard. For Week 10, I’m feeling good.”

4. Sunday’s last-minute win was a good case study for how Cousins thinks differently from the outside media.

Most people outside the organization called Sunday’s game a signature win. The 17-14 victory was crucial for the Redskins’ place in the standings, especially as they begin to make a playoff run. But for quarterback Kirk Cousins, the outside noise is rarely synonymous with his own thoughts on his and the team’s performance.

In an answer that used the word “process” enough times for Cousins to be considered a 76ers fan, the quarterback expressed how he has focused his attention away from outcomes and more on his own assessment of his mental keys.

“I understand that a two-minute drill on the road against a good football team, finding a way to win – it’s exciting and it’s fun and it gets the juices going,” Cousins said. “I’m a little bit more process-oriented and there have been games where I’ve thrown for a lot of yards and felt like I played nearly flawlessly but we lost. And I walk away saying, ‘I’m getting better, I’m doing really good things, I’m about the process, and my process was really good today.”

Cousins said his own process in Seattle was filled with mistakes and things he wishes he had back. The victory doesn’t change those feelings, just like a loss doesn’t change his feelings about a strong performance.

“Maybe it never had to come down to a two-minute drill if we had been better through the first three-and-a-half quarters,” he said. “Was it a great finish? Yes. Did we show a lot of character? Yes. Did I love the resiliency? Is that a game I’ll remember? Yes. But, I don’t like to get too outcome-focused and I feel, on the outside, I feel that happening after this game and that’s OK, on the outside. My concern is in the locker room, in our organization, making sure that we don’t allow that to creep in.”

5. Cousins is still learning about Josh Doctson the person, but so far he’s seen someone eager to learn.

Wide receiver Josh Doctson’s diving 38-yard grab was arguably his biggest as a member of the Washington Redskins. But in his limited sessions with the media and generally quiet demeanor, it’s been hard to gauge what kind of person last year’s first-round pick is.

Cousins admitted Wednesday he’s still trying to get to know him, but claimed that Doctson wasn’t “as aloof as he comes across,” and that he always wants to correct the mistakes he makes.

“He’s a good person. He’s an intelligent person. I like him as a teammate,” Cousins said. “He is a student of the game on the field. He asks questions. He wants to do it right. He is not a know-it-all. He is not a guy who goes out there and has all the answers, so he is a joy to work with. I told him after he scored, ‘Let’s make sure this isn’t a one-and-done thing. Let’s make sure this is a repeatable thing and something that people expect to have happen not just next week, not just this season, but hopefully for seasons to come.’ That’s where the vision needs to be and then we have got to work in a way where that can become a reality.”

Cousins did say that his rapport with Doctson has improved mostly because he’s been able to stay on the field and gain more practice time.

“You’ve got to be out there, you’ve got to be practicing, you’ve got to do it, and sometimes you have to fail,” Cousins said. “I’ll be the first one to say that sometimes failing, for me in my career, has been the greatest teacher. I’m excited about getting through those stages such that you then can really take some big steps in production hopefully going forward.”

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