It’s been about three months and 11 regular season games since Jay Gruden declared, “It’s Kirk’s team,” and handed the starting quarterback job to Kirk Cousins. He has had his ups and downs at quarterback while he has been trying to grow as a leader.
At a players-only meeting on Saturday night safety and defensive captain Dashon Goldson implored Cousins to become a true leader on offense. “As a quarterback, he’s got to be a leader, a little more vocal and take charge of what’s going on on the offensive side of the ball.” Goldson said when recounting the meeting after the Redskins’ win on Sunday.
Gruden doesn’t necessarily think that Cousins needs to change his style. “As quarterbacks go, I think everybody has their own different, unique personality. Kirk, he’s still finding his way,” said Gruden. “Obviously it’s his team and we all know that right now. He’s still in the process of learning, basically studying what he wants to do and how to play the position.”
It may be too soon to expect Cousins to be fully developed as a leader after just 11 games.
“The leadership stuff will come,” said Gruden. “I think everybody looks up to him, the type of kid that he is, how hard he works. But as far as being a vocal leader, that may or may not be his style yet. He may grow into that type of role but there are great ways to lead—you don’t have to be a vocal leader or yell at people to lead. I think if you lead by example, by your work ethic and holding people to high standards, he’s in good shape. He’s doing a good job of that.”
Trent Williams, the team’s offensive captain, agrees that Cousins has done a good job of leading by example.
“He's a very focused individual,” said Williams after the game on Sunday. “When we get in the huddle he demands everybody's attention . . . He's a serious guy. To me, that's what's got him this far is his focus and his paying attention to detail.”
Everybody will be waiting for Cousins to take the next steps, both on the field and as the team’s leader.