Kirk Cousins has gained a firm grasp of the Redskins’ offense over the past year and now is focused on mastering the details and the subtle nuances of playing the position at a high level, according to Redskins quarterbacks Coach Matt Cavanaugh.  

“There was clearly a point in the season last year when he felt like this was his offense, that the team was responding to him [and] we were having some success offensively,” Cavanaugh said recently. “So I don’t think he’s starting from scratch. I think he feels like, ‘I want to build on what I did last year.’ He’s putting a lot of work into studying what happened last year, all different situations, all different types of throws, reads, protections, and he just wants to build on that now.”

Although it can be difficult to gauge exactly how much a player has improved in non-contact offseason practices, it was easy to see during this spring’s OTA sessions that Cousins’ confidence, command of the offense and chemistry with his teammates are on the rise.

“He’s at a point now where he understands the offense really well,” added Cavanaugh, who is entering his second season with the Redskins. “He’s got the verbiage. He’s got the communication. He’s working on things like different cadences, working on things like looking [defenders] off and finding the guy to throw to. So, just the little technical things that go with playing the position that can only be learned through time. Very few guys come into this league being able to do everything all at once. He’s at the point now where he knows all the routes, he knows all the adjustments, he knows all the terms. Now, it’s a matter of, ‘What else can I add to it to help us get an advantage?’”


Cavanaugh also reiterated what others have said numerous times about Cousins: The fifth-year quarterback remains hungry to prove himself, despite last season’s success.

“The good thing about him is he’s not content,” Cavanaugh said. “He sees a lot more improvement to be made, and that’s what he’s striving for.”

Asked how Cousins is coping with the approaching deadline to reach a long-term contract in Washington, Cavanaugh said the quarterback has seemed unfazed. (Cousins, of course, is under contract for 2016, having signed the nearly $20 million franchise tag in March. But the sides can only negotiate a multi-year extension until July 15. After the deadline, Cousins must play next season on the one-year tag.)   

“I’ve heard him say a few times that he’s really not concerned about it; believe him,” Cavanaugh said. “He’s really not concerned about it. He just wants play football and he figures the rest of it will take care of itself.”

Cavanaugh was also asked about Cousins appearing more demonstrative and vocal on the practice field. If you recall, Cousins put a new spin on his trademark catchphrase last week in minicamp when he screamed, ‘You all loved that!” after connecting with DeSean Jackson on a deep touchdown in 11 on 11 drills.  

“I like him to be natural,” Cavanaugh said. “And Kirk is naturally vocal. He’s naturally excitable. He knows when to tamp it down a tad. But he’s not going to hold back. If he gets excited about something, he’s going to let you know about it. And that’s fine because it’s natural. He’s not putting on a show. He’s not putting on airs. He believes in himself. When he has a vision in his head of what a play is supposed to look like, and he goes and makes it look like it’s supposed to…he’s gets excited and we love that about him.”