Redskins Kirk Cousins Talks About Possible Start

Washington Redskins backup quarterback Kirk Cousins spoke with the media on Wednesday about his possible first start, Robert Griffin III’s speed, and the Cleveland Browns.

On if today is not a normal Wednesday for him:
“It has a little different feeling. I haven’t stood at this podium before, so I guess in that sense it is.”

On if what he’s doing in practice is helping him feel more prepared:
“Definitely. Anytime you can get reps, you’re going to get better. That was true of OTAs. That was true of minicamp. That was true of training camp. Anytime I go out there and get a chance to get better, I’m going to get better. That’s why I stay after it every day – to do that.”

On quarterback Robert Griffin III running a 4.3-second 40-yard dash:
“I told Robert, I said, ‘Your 40 would have to drop a lot for you to be losing something to me. I ran a 4.9 at the combine, so if you’re not 4.9, I guess I could be faster than you.’ But I said, ‘Even if you slow down two or three tenths of a second, you still got me by two or three tenths of a second.’”

On wide receiver Joshua Morgan comparing him to former NBA star Larry Bird:
“Josh is a basketball guy, so I’ll take that as a compliment. I’ve been told he played basketball at AAU with guys like Ty Lawson and Carmelo Anthony. If he’s making that comparison, I’ll take that as a compliment.”

On how different he is as a quarterback this year:
“I’ve grown exponentially since I got here. It’s been a lot of learning. Rookie year I was expecting to be constantly learning and having to adapt to new things. I’ve become a much better quarterback from the day I showed up to where I am now. If I do end up playing on Sunday, that would be another opportunity to learn or grow.”

On the areas of his game he feels he has experienced the most growth:
“I think quarterbacking is so many things, and we’re going to focus on all of them – whether it’s making reads quicker, having better footwork, better fundamentals. I don’t go to class anymore. I do football all day long. That in and of itself is going to make me a lot better than when I had to divide my time in college between a whole bunch of different things. Having football as a job has made a big difference.”

On the difference in playing as a relief quarterback and potentially starting in place of Griffin III:
“You have to go the distance when you start a game. That’s a lot of time to screw up – if you will – a lot of time to get exposed. I walked off the field and I really learned firsthand the comment that I’ve heard many times before that quarterbacks get too much of the praise when things go well and too much of the blame when things go poorly. I was on the praise side of that this past Sunday. I walked away from the game and I said to my brother, ‘Kyle, I went two-for-two. Let’s not get carried away.’ People want to praise you. If I got out there and made the mistake to lose the game, people would be giving me too much blame. When you go the distance, you have a little bit more of a chance to really show your true colors. I don’t feel like going two-for-two is a very convincing argument to say that I know what I’m doing or that I’ve proved that I know what I’m doing. I think I still have a lot of football and I need to show that.”

On the advantages of going through the same rookie program with Griffin III:
“We’ve been going through this rookie experience since day one when we showed up together. Obviously, his has had a few differences than mine, but regardless we’ve both been rookies. We’ve both had to learn a lot when it comes to living the NFL life. We have done that together. They’ve had to install plays with both of us there, rather than being by myself if I was on another team with a veteran quarterback. It is unique. You don’t see it a lot – two rookie quarterbacks and one and two on the depth chart. I think we’ve done a good job with it and hopefully we can finish the year and still be saying that.”

On the improvement in his performance since the Atlanta game:
“I said at the Atlanta game that as much as I hate the result, I would learn from it. I think results this past Sunday prove that. I think part of the reason I left the pocket on the touchdown pass was the mistake I made against the Falcons in the second interception. Whether it’s a rep in practice or a rep in a game – it doesn’t really matter the setting – you’re going to learn from it. If you’re out there doing it and making a mistake, you’re going to try to prevent it in the future. To answer your question, my time in against the Falcons was invaluable. I said it was at that point, and I think looking back now it still remains true.”

On if the touchdown pass to wide receiver Pierre Garçon was a play that’s engrained in a quarterback’s mind:

“We talk about playing on instincts, but instincts are developed over time. I wasn’t born to play quarterback. I worked at it and worked at it and worked at it to the point where you can then play on instincts and you’re making the right decisions instinctively. That has taken time. That’s when I say I’ve grown a lot since May. It would be developing myself to a point where I can play without having to think, which I think even back in the Atlanta game – more so than the Ravens game – I’m obviously having to think more than a 10- or 12-year veteran, but even from Atlanta to the Ravens game. I’m having to think a lot less and I’m able to just react and play.”

On how his preparation will change this week:

“It really doesn’t. I’m getting here the same time every day. I’m leaving at the same time. I view it as though I’m one play away with the style of Robert’s play. That may mean a little bit more than if you’re backing up Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, who have been so stable for so long. I treat it as I have to be ready. I don’t want a result like what happened against the Falcons to happen again. I prepare the same regardless of the likelihood that I would play.”

On playing with feel:
“I’ve gone through this experience going from high school to college. You’re a freshman in college on the scout team and you’re saying, ‘Man, I wish football was easy and fun again like it was a senior in high school.’ Then finally I get to be a senior in college and you’re just playing and having fun and everything is slowing down for you, so you hope that’s going to happen as well here. Again, each time you go out there you can see a little bit of improvement. From the preseason to the Atlanta game to the Baltimore game, there’s no doubt I’m getting
better. I’m not there yet, but I’m getting better and as time passes I expect to have it come more natural.”

On how much time he spends with Griffin III:
“I think it’s also taken time for us to get to know each other and learn how we each work best. We’re learning on the run. We’re sort of learning how to best prepare. First time around, we’re just figuring things out. We do spend a lot of time together. I see him more than I see anybody in my life because of how many hours we’re here, because we’re both rookies. We do spend a lot of time together and try to help one another. I think the more time we spend together, the more we’ve been able to help each other, the more we get to know each other and the better our relationship is.”

On what he can incorporate into his game from Griffin III’s style of play:
“I think if you look at the touchdown pass against Baltimore that I was apart of, that’s a play where you watch Robert earlier in the game roll to his right and throw a touchdown pass to [wide receiver] Joshua Morgan. Who knows, but maybe…after seeing that happen many times and watching Robert create whether it’s a practice or a game, you start to see that on film quite a bit and in your own way you try to emulate that maybe a little bit more than when you’re backing up a guy who doesn’t do that often. I think just seeing how Robert plays, watching a quarterback in front of you play at a high level, benefits me because I’m learning from a guy who is doing it the right way.”

On playing in colder weather:
“Talk to me after Sunday if I play and we’ll see. I’ve played in 15 [degrees] and snow. I’ve played in 35 [degrees] and rain. I’ve played in 75 [degrees] and sunny. I’ve played in all kinds of weather. Being from Michigan, playing in the Big Ten, playing at Michigan State I’ve experienced bad weather, so I guess I do have a little bit of experience there. Talk to me after Sunday if I do play and we’ll see.”

On people reaching out to him after the win against Baltimore:

“I added up the text messages after the game come Monday morning and I had 140 people who had texted me and I think I responded to two. I called my dad, talked to my parents, talked to my siblings, my brother and sister, talked to my grandparents and that was about it. I want to apologize to the other 137 people I haven’t responded to. You’re probably not going to get a response. I’ll see you in the offseason. It has been a little unique. I hadn’t been getting 137 text messages after the previous few games [laughter].”

On if he has overanalyzed his snaps:
“It’s a tough position because, like you said, you go two-for-two and everybody loves you. If you go 0-for-two, everybody hates you. You say, ‘It’s only two passes. It’s not really a body of work to make a decision either way.’ The position that I’m in, being where I was drafted and the role I have, I’m not going to get a full season or two seasons to show the NFL what I can do. I’m going to get a half of a game and a preseason game. I’m going to get two throws at the end of a Ravens game. I have to be willing to accept that. It’s not ideal. I would have loved to have been the 10th overall pick and have two or three seasons to see what I can and can’t do, but that’s not the luxury I have. There is a heightened sense of urgency to say that when I do get my opportunities, I need to make the most of them. I’ve been saying that since I got here in May.”

On if these games are more important to him because they could possibly be full games:

“There’s no doubt that it’s an opportunity. I view it as an opportunity just as I viewed preseason games as opportunities. Every practice is an opportunity to show what I can do every day. I’m trying to perform at a high level and show, whether it’s these coaches or the rest of the NFL, what I’m capable of. My dad said to me for a long time, when I was struggling to see if I was going to play at Michigan State, he said, ‘Kirk, the cream always rises to the top. If you’re good enough, in time, you’ll get your shot. If you’re not, you won’t.’ The cream rose to the top at Michigan State when I got my opportunity there. I’m not worried about it in the sense that if I’m good enough I’ll be able to show people over time what I can do and if I’m not, I won’t. I have to be able to accept that. At the end of the day, I said this when I got here, God brought me here. He has his hand on my life and I’m going to trust him and his plan for my life. I believe whether it’s as a backup, starter, five-year career, 15-year career, one-year career, he has a plan for me and I’m going to trust it and roll with it.”

Source: Washington Redskins Media