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Kirk Cousins: Possible Start Does Nothing To Change Preparation

By ZAC BOYER | @ZacBoyer

ASHBURN – Despite a little extra attention, Kirk Cousins swears it’s been a normal week.


“I’m not just saying that,” Cousins insisted Wednesday. “It’s been normal. Nothing to report.”

At least, not yet. Cousins, the Washington Redskins’ backup quarterback, entered the 24-17 loss to Atlanta in the third quarter after starter Robert Griffin III left the game with a concussion.

If Griffin were to experience additional concussion-related symptoms at any point this week – a possibility – that could force Cousins, the other rookie quarterback, into the starting role Sunday against Minnesota.

“I’m just taking it as it comes,” Cousins said. “Obviously, with Robert’s situation, there’s nothing set in stone either. He has to continue to pass tests. I don’t know if anybody knows exactly what’s going to happen day-by-day.”

Cousins, drafted in the fourth round in April, earned his spot as the Redskins’ primary backup quarterback with a strong preseason performance. That has forced Rex Grossman, who was the starter for most of last season, to be inactive on game day through the first five weeks of the season.

Playing the final five drives, Cousins finished 5-for-9 for 111 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss, and interceptions on his final two attempts.

“There were a couple throws that obviously, I want back, and I’ll learn from those,” Cousins said. “Overall, though, I walk away saying, ‘I can do this.’ With continued practice and continued preparation, I believe my ability’s only going to improve and my ability to, on a Sunday, make a lot of big plays is going to improve.”

If Cousins ends up playing, the Redskins will enter the game with a slightly modified playbook. The designed quarterback runs and the option game would certainly not be part of the game plan if Griffin isn’t able to run them.

“You’ve got a few plays you can do with Robert that you can’t do with Kirk,” head coach Mike Shanahan said. “I think everybody knows which plays those are, but besides those, they’re very similar.”

Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier admitted that if the Redskins were to announce Griffin wouldn’t play early in the week, it would allow the Vikings’ game plan to change considerably.

“I don’t think we’d be prepared very much for option if it was Kirk or Rex at quarterback,” Frazier said. “We won’t spend a whole lot of time on that for sure. But I think their run game is not going to change a whole lot and their pass game is not going to change a whole lot. But the option threat, definitely, I think changes if Robert is not playing.”

Cousins doesn’t feel slighted at all by a potential change. Slower than Griffin, he understands running the option play – something he only rarely did at Michigan State – would not be something he’d do at the professional level.

“Certainly, the plays that are called that are gonna put Robert in a good position at times are going to be different than the plays that are called that are gonna put me in a position to be successful,” Cousins said. “There are some differences, but at the end of the day, our base offense is still our base offense, and to be a good quarterback in the NFL, you still have to be able to be accurate and make some good decisions, and those are the things that both of us are working on.”

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