Kirk Cousins got the big time treatment after practice at Redskins Park on. It wasn’t a normal Wednesday, he said.
“It has a little different feeling. I haven’t stood at this podium before,” he said, talking about the spot normally reserved for press conferences by the likes of Mike Shanahan and Robert Griffin III.
Cousins was getting the star treatment because he finished the last game the Redskins played and he may start the next one. Reports on Griffin’s injured right knee look favorable but that does not mean that he is a sure bet to start against the Browns on Sunday.
Cousins has played in two NFL games. Last Sunday his cameo appearance became a starring role when he threw a touchdown pass and then ran in a two-point conversion to tie Sunday’s game. The rookie out of Michigan State also finished up the Atlanta game in Week 5 after Griffin was sidelined with a concussion. He completed five of nine passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. However, the Redskins last two possessions, which came with Washington within seven points, both ended with Cousins throwing an interception.
He knows that there is a big difference between a relief appearance and starting a game. “You have to go the distance when you start a game. That’s a lot of time to screw up,” he said. “A lot of time to get exposed.”
The Redskins’ fourth-round draft pick last spring did put the experience he had in the Atlanta game to use. On his second interception, with a little over a minute left, he stood in the pocket for too long. He pump faked and was hit as he was trying to go down the middle to Santana Moss. The ball sailed and was easily picked off.
Against the Ravens, Cousins did not sit in the pocket. He moved a few steps to his right and found Pierre Garçon open in the end zone.
“I think in some respects I learned from the Falcons game,” he said on Sunday. When I threw my second interception in that game I just wanted too long on it and tried to do too much.”
“So I thought, ‘I am going to make something happen and try to do my best RG3, if you will.”
It was a good enough RG3 imitation to get the touchdown pass. And then he went one step further, taking a page out of Griffin’s playbook to run a quarterback draw in for the tying two-point conversion.
Cousins tried to downplay his performance, telling his brother, “I went two for two, let’s not get carried away.” But he realizes that the 22-year-old Griffin is the future of the franchise and that his NFL future is probably with another franchise. That makes every appearance important.
What if he does end up starting on Sunday?
“There’s no doubt that it’s an opportunity,” Cousins said. “I view it as an opportunity just as I viewed preseason games as opportunities. Every practice is an opportunity to show what I can do every day.”
Will Cousins get an opportunity to show what he can do in Cleveland? Stay tuned.