Watch practice each day at Redskins Park and Kirk Cousins emerges as a fiery, vocal, even combattive at times, leader and quarterback. Watch Redskins games on Sundays, and rarely does the same version of Cousins appear.
At times it does, often when cameras are rolling. Few moments encapsulate Cousins' passionate side like his comments to Scot McCloughan after the Redskins convincingly beat the Packers.
Kirk Cousins to Scot McCloughan: 'How you like me now?!'
Kirk Cousins. Feelin' it. #HowYouLikeMeNowPosted by NBC Sports Washington on Monday, November 21, 2016
Cousins addressed trying to get the 'How do you like me now?' player into every game, and from the opening kick, in an interview with ESPN980's Inside the Locker Room (listen here).
I need to be more of that guy. I think from the day I entered the league, I’ve tried to be a little more buttoned down, a little more careful to not stick my foot in my mouth, and I think I need to let myself come out. The guy that the teammates see at practice and at OTAs, the guy that the teammates see in the locker room, from behind closed doors. I think people need to see that, like you said, from the kickoff. As I get a little more experienced in this league, I think it will come naturally, but I think I need to make a more concerted effort to make that happen. I think if I do, I think it will help.
Obviously the biggest question facing Cousins this offseason remains his contract status. Set for free agency at the end of the month, Cousins can stay with the Redskins by signing a new long-term deal or again playing under the franchise tag, like he did in 2016. It seems highly unlikely Cousins actually hits free agency, and team officials sound somewhat optimistic of a new multi-year deal for their quarterback.
In an honest moment, Cousins said he believes he can be a better leader with a multi-year contract.
That is the benefit to the long-term deal. It’s okay, I’m the guy. I’ve got full freedom to lead, full freedom to just be the guy, to make this mine, and to get that permission, if you will. That’s where I think the leash comes off and you’re able to fully go, and I’m excited for that day to come, whether it comes this year or down the road. I can’t wait.
The tune hasn't changed from Cousins about the franchise tag.
He said that if the organization chooses to franchise him, again, he views it as being wanted. Since being named the starting QB in 2015, Cousins has repeatedly said he feels that each week he is proving himself, and that feeling hasn't changed. In fact, he said even if he got a long-term contract, he would still feel like it's a year to year situation.
ESPN980 broadcasters Brian Mitchell and Doc Walker did a nice job with the interview, prodding Cousins about leadership in a way that befits former players. Perhaps the most interesting comment from the quarterback came about how he can improve. Cousins thought back to a November win over the Vikings.
In that game, Cousins sprinted downfield after an official when he thought a pass interference call should have been made. The scene wasn't a surprise to many who had seen similar histrionics from Cousins on the practice fields in Ashburn, but for thousands of fans, it was a big surprise.
There’s a side of me that people don’t understand. I remember in the Vikings game, when I reacted to what I thought was a pass interference and was all emotional about it I got a lot of questions after, 'Why so much emotion?' I thought to myself, well, that’s who I am. That’s how I would normally react. I think what I’ve shown for years now really isn’t me, partly because there’s so much on my mind and so much I’m trying to do that I try not to get distracted by anything. But when I’m rolling and I’m feeling good, that’s the Kirk that comes out.
Redskins fans would like to see a lot more of the 'rolling and feeling good' Kirk. In the two games against the Vikings and Packers, both emotional showings from Cousins, the 'Skins went 2-0. The QB passed for more than 600 yards and five touchdowns with an average QB rating of 128.35.
Cousins believes a long-term deal will help him be more comfortable, and it's fairly obvious job security helps any employee. Granted it's a small sample, but the numbers seem to back up Cousins' assertion.
Perhaps Redskins brass should take notice.
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