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Kirk Cousins on leadership: 'There’s a side of me that people don’t understand'

Kirk Cousins on leadership: 'There’s a side of me that people don’t understand'

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. #HowYouLikeMeNow

Posted 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. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Six Redskins players will be losing a good amount of salary for skipping mandatory off-season workouts

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Six Redskins players will be losing a good amount of salary for skipping mandatory off-season workouts

Each NFL player has their own way of preparing for the upcoming season. 

Russell Wilson boxes. James Harrison plays beach volleyball – with 25 lb. medicine balls

But come May 6th, teams begin a series of mandatory offseason workouts. This is a time for new teammates to get familiar and seasoned veterans to get back up to speed ahead of training camp.

The Washington Redskins had 36 in total, and required their players to attend at least 33 of them or face financial consequences. That didn't seem to faze six of Washington's biggest names. 

Josh Norman, Landon Collins, Trent Williams, Paul Richardson, Quinton Dunbar and Vernon Davis will all be losing a cut of their salary after failing to attend the minimum number of Washington's off-season workouts. 

For Norman, that's 26 business class round-trips from Reagan National Airport to Pamplona, Spain for future "Running of the Bulls." 

That being said, neither Norman nor Collins, Richardson, Dunbar and Davis are question marks for Week 1.

Williams, however, may prolong his holdout until well after the start of training camp on July 28. 

 

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Joe Theismann reveals Alex Smith 'came very, very close to losing his leg'

Joe Theismann reveals Alex Smith 'came very, very close to losing his leg'

Thirty-three years to the day that former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann suffered a gruesome leg injury, Alex Smith suffered the same fate against the Houston Texans.

Theismann addressed the injury similarities between him and Alex Smith on Ian Rapoport's podcast, "RapSheet and Friends."

"I was there that night," Theismann said. "I looked at it and I turned to [my wife] Robin and I said 'that's exactly like mine.'"

At that moment, Theismann was worried the injury was so severe Smith wouldn't be able to recover.

"He came very, very close to losing his leg and fortunately, you know, he still has it," Theismann said. "Alex for sure will not play this year."

With Case Keenum, Colt McCoy and 2019 first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins in the fold, Theismann noted it'll be hard for Smith to break back into the Redskins quarterback lineup.

"Ask yourself the question, 'Will he be able to compete as a starter?'" Theismann pondered. "Because you can't pay somebody $20 million as a backup. Just can't happen." 

When asked if Smith could return and play at a high level, Theismann alluded to the problems that quarterbacks with leg injuries can have when trying to recover, especially when it comes to mechanics.

"I would say 'let's see how you feel one year from now,'" Theismann noted. "Picture a pitcher not being able to push off the mound. Picture a quarterback not being able to load his weight and go forward.

"And so what happens is when you think of that throwing mechanism, his body, his arm, his legs, his ability to turn and push, if one of those elements is lessened, the other areas have to make up for it."

Smith recently had the external fixator removed from his leg and noted that he's making incremental steps towards playing again.

"It's gonna be a long road," Theismann said of Smith's recovery.

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