With OTAs in the rearview and minicamp approaching, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins agrees that getting all of the first team reps this offseason is accomplishing exactly what he and his coaches hoped it would.
“It’s made a big difference,” Cousins said Saturday at his youth football camp in Lorton, Va.
“We’ve just got to keep going out there and stack days on top of one another,” he added. “But there’s no doubt that these OTAs have been very valuable, not just for me but for our entire offense and our team. We want to maximize those reps and learn from any mistakes that we make, and we’re all excited about where our offense can continue to grow as we have some continuity and can bring guys back for another year and just build together.”
A year ago, Robert Griffin III took all of the snaps with Washington’s starters throughout the offseason program and training camp, leaving Cousins and Colt McCoy to divvy up second and third reps.
Of course, Cousins seized the starting job in late August, starting all 16 regular season games in 2015 and leading the Redskins to the playoffs. Still, the opportunity to lead the first team offense in practice, from Day 1, is a new experience for him. And, by most accounts, he’s taking full advantage of the opportunity.
During the handful of practice sessions that have been open to reporters in recent weeks, Cousins has indeed appeared more comfortable, confident and efficient in running the offense. He’s thrown the ball with more conviction. He’s also been more assertive as the team’s on-field leader.
“He’s obviously playing with a lot of confidence,” Coach Jay Gruden said last week, noting that he’s challenged Cousins with difficult situations in practice more often this spring. “He’s got great command of the offense—that’s the one thing you notice.”
Added Offensive Coordinator Sean McVay: “You absolutely see growth in him. He’s taken command of the offense; you can just see he’s got a really good feel for what we’re trying to get done.”
On Saturday, Cousins agreed with that assessment.
“I do think I’m playing with more confidence,” he said. “I have a better understanding of defenses and our scheme and our protections and our routes. And, as a result, I’m able to grow as a player.”
Cousins continued: “That’s to be expected. I am only going into Year 5 and haven’t played a ton of football. But I’m able to grow and still improve as a player. I haven’t plateaued—and that’s exciting. We’ll just keep stacking days on top of each other and see where it takes us.”
The Redskins’ offseason program continues Tuesday in Ashburn, Va., with the start veteran minicamp.