Home Press Conference: Washington QB Kirk Cousins and wideout DeSean Jackson

Press Conference: Washington QB Kirk Cousins and wideout DeSean Jackson


redskins_scriptrQuarterback Kirk Cousins

On if he feels different as the starting quarterback now compared to the end of last season:

“Yeah, if we’re comparing last season the last three games to right now, certainly it’s different. Much earlier in the season with a lot more to play for and I think that creates a heightened sense of urgency and anytime you play, you want to play well but certainly there is a lot of football to go and with a divisional opponent on the road, we really need to have good attention to detail and good focus this week in our preparation.”


On how he handles pressure:

“Well, I think in that sense just the pressure, the expectations, whatever you want to call it, it’s nothing new. We’ve played college football on a big stage and started NFL games and been a part of NFL teams in big games. All that being said, this isn’t something brand new that we need to make a big deal of. We’re going on the road, we’re playing a great football team, a team that 2-0, leading our division, and we need to have a great week of practice to be ready to play them.”


On Head Coach Jay Gruden’s influence in his development:

“Jay, first of all, having played the quarterback position and done it at the professional level, you trust him because he’s been there and he has been in your shoes. He has a lot for experience. I watched him have a lot of success with Andy Dalton the last three seasons and I believe that if I just do what he tells me to do and stay patient, trust the process, keep working, good things are going to happen because he knows what he’s talking about and he has a proven track record. So I fully trust him and really just want to do what he tells me and work really hard to make sure the development comes quickly.”


On how comfortable he is with the starting wide receivers:

“You’re certainly going to develop greater chemistry, greater rapport the more you play with them, the more reps you get with them. So, if I were to play for four, five or six weeks, you know, Week 6 we’re going to be on a much better level than we are Week 1. But that being said, I do feel comfortable. I feel like this is a system that mirrors a lot of what I’ve done in the past. Like I said, I trust Coach Gruden. I understand where he’s coming from and we have a lot of talented playmakers on the field. You saw a lot of guys catch the football last Sunday. It’s just a matter of me managing the game and getting the football in the right guy’s hands to let them go make plays.”


On the distribution of reps when he’s the starter:

“Well, when I’m the back up, I get many of the scout teams reps and I get none of the offensive reps. Now, as a starter coming in, I will get all of the starter reps and I’ll get none of the scout team reps. So basically, it’ll go, when the defense is on the field getting their reps, Colt [McCoy] is the quarterback. When the offense is on the field getting their reps, I’m the quarterback. So, a little bit of night and day. You completely leave the scout team and you completely move to the offense and that will certainly help come Sunday. ”


On what he learned from the final three games of last season:

“I think first of all I gained a lot of confidence. I think when you start three games in a row that’s an experience. That’s something that helped me have confidence now when I’m asked to go in against Jacksonville on Sunday. So, you gain that confidence, that ‘been there, done that’ kind of feeling, and whether it was the close games we had against Atlanta or Dallas or the tough game in the rain against the Giants, you go through experiences that help you to say, ‘I’ve been there and I’ve done that.’ It’s hard to pinpoint any specific change or development. I think it’s just a gradual ability to continue to make better and better decisions and to continue to manage the game at a higher level that the longer I’m out there on the field, the better I’m going to get.”


On wide receiver DeSean Jackson:

“He’s a talented player. I mean, one of the best receivers in the league and we’d be foolish not to try to get him the ball and give him an opportunity to make plays. As a quarterback, when you stand in the huddle, when you break the huddle and go to the line of scrimmage, there are certain guys that just make you feel better in tough situations and DeSean is certainly one of those guys. ”


On Eagles Coach Chip Kelly’s comment that Cousins has a great command of the offense:

“Yeah, I think I’m always going to try make sure my command of this offense is as strong as it can be. You know, I’m not 6-5. I don’t run a 4.3. I don’t have an arm that can throw at 90 yards. So, if I don’t have good command and if I’m not making good decisions and if I’m not doing a great job of managing the game, then I’m not going to be playing in this league very long. So, the focus for me has to be having a good command, making great decisions, knowing where to go with the football. Sometimes that’s taking a sack, sometimes that’s throwing it out of bounds, but always giving us a chance to win the game at the end.”


On his area of focus this week:

“I think it’s getting very comfortable with the game plan. The installs, the protections, any new concepts we’ve put in. You get introduced to them last night, this morning and it’s important to get as familiar as possible with them come Sunday morning.”


On if protecting the football was a key focus for him during the offseason:

“Protection of the football is one of those areas that is just critical to wining and critical to having a successful team over the long run. As a quarterback, the ball is in your hand almost every play, if not every play. So, taking care of the football will be an emphasis of Coach Gruden to all the quarterbacks for as long as he’s here and as long as I’m playing I’ll always try to protect it. That being said, you’re going to have turnovers. The best quarterbacks in the league are going to average an interception a game. If you finish the year with 16 picks, you’re probably going to lead the league in terms of fewest interceptions thrown. It’s part of playing the position. If you’re going to make some great throws and hit some big time third down completions, you’re going to have to at the same time throw some picks too. So, you take the good with the bad, but certainly if we protect the football with the defense we have, we’re always going to have a good chance at the end of the game to win.”


On what he does well:

“I don’t know that I want to spend this press conference bragging about myself. I think I need to let other people do that, let you guys make your critiques, good or bad. For me, it’s always going to come down to decision making. If I’m not making good decisions and knowing where to go with the football, I’m not going to play in this league very long. Just avoiding negative plays – sacks, interceptions. I have to keep us ahead of the chains, keep us out of third-and-longs. If you’re consistently in third-and-long and consistently punting the football, you’re putting your defense in a tough spot and you’re not giving yourself a chance on offense to get your whole playbook going. So, it’s a matter of staying positive on first and second down, staying out of long-yardage situations, and when you do that, you find yourself always in the fourth quarter having a chance to come down and win it.”


On if this is his biggest opportunity with the Redskins:

“It’s hard to rank them. I think every opportunity in the NFL is big. You’re being evaluated by so many people – your own team, your own coaches, your own front office, other teams, the media, friends and family back home are evaluating you. So, every opportunity you get, you’re under a microscope, and it’s just important that you’re well-prepared each time you go out there and you know what you’re going to do and you don’t lay an egg. Rather than compare them, I just say each opportunity is very, very big.”


On his enthusiasm in the huddle:

“Without going into too much detail, I just say that I have a laser focus, I’m an intense guy, and sometimes I like to make fun of myself too and kind of play jokes on that as well about how intense I am. It’s always a balance of making sure you’re locked in and focused, but also that you’re not putting too much pressure on yourself or forgetting to be light-hearted and have fun at the same time because it is a game.”


On if the team made any adjustments to help ease him into last week’s game:

“You know, I think if anything, we thought the zone read was going to be really good. With Robert going out, we didn’t execute quite as often or at all against Jacksonville. So if there was any change, it was probably for the worst that we didn’t have that at our disposal as much when I was in. Other than that, the playbook stayed entirely the same and felt like the full menu of plays that would be there for Robert were there for me. It’s just a matter of executing.”


On Jackson’s speed and developing an on-field relationship with him:

“I haven’t done a lot of work with him because when DeSean’s on the field, Robert has been on the field. That will be an emphasis in practice this week to make sure I get a good feel for ‘How fast is this guy really?’ But, in watching and seeing all the reps and the work I have done with him in individual, it is hard to overthrow him. And as a result, you want to make sure you get the ball up and down and let him go get it. Guys like that, you just want to give them a chance to make plays and go do what they’re paid to do. You don’t want to be a deterrent or slow them down from being able to make our offenses as explosive as I think it’s capable of being.”


On hearing the news of Gruden’s hiring in the offseason:

“Yeah, I was thrilled to hear that Jay was hired and that Sean McVay was going to be the offensive coordinator. I felt like all things considered, it was probably the best possible scenario – selfishly – for me to have a coach who has proven success with a guy in Andy Dalton, who I would say is a similar player to me. The system didn’t have a whole lot of turnover from the previous systems, so we were able to keep some things the same. And then the fact that Sean was able to be kept from the old staff, gave us a good communication in installing the offense to be able to say, ‘Here’s what we did last year and here’s what we’re doing now.’ I think it was a really good situation for me to come into. In this league, you’re only as good as the guys around you and that includes the head coach and the offensive coordinator and the guys calling plays. So I feel very fortunate to have the receivers I have, the tight ends, the running backs and the offensive line, but then obviously also the coaches and the play callers. It makes a big difference as a quarterback.”


Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson

On his shoulder:

“My shoulder, you know, it’s the third day. The soreness went down a little bit, swelling went down as well too. Still in there [the training room] every day, trying to get it back to full strength and full motion. It was just one of [those] situations where it was a fluke incident. I just kind of fell on my shoulder, just the impact of the ground and the guy falling on top of me was the biggest thing. Just irritating – to finish the game like that was just tough.”


On playing the Philadelphia Eagles this week:

“As far as the emotions on the game, obviously being in Philadelphia my first six years and playing there and accomplishing some of the things I accomplished to start my career was obviously a huge time in my life, a huge part of the beginning of my NFL career. So obliviously it’s going to be a huge game for myself and something I always looked forward to ever since everything went down the way it went down.”


On his level of confidence about his ability to play on Sunday:

“You know, I’m a very confidence person, regardless of an injury or not. I pride myself on not missing any games and preparing myself any and every way I can to go out there and help my team. So, when it comes time for a game, I’m going to do everything I can to get myself prepared and ready. Being able to get cleared through my trainers is more of what we’re waiting for to see if they’ll give me the OK, but I should be good to go comeSunday.”


On if the Eagles explained why he was released last season:

“Honestly, what’s happened has happened. It’s in the past and moving forward in the career is the biggest thing I can really say. I’m not focused on why it happened or why it transpired or why it happened the way it happened. I’m not really worried about that. As far as talking to some of the guys still there, I have a great relationship with LeSean McCoy. He’s like a brother to me. We talk on an everyday basis, almost. As much as he misses playing with me, I miss playing with him as well, too, because we felt the dual threat that me and him had together was very unlike any another in the league so I wish him the best. Unfortunately, this week, can’t really wish him the best against us, so hopefully my defensive boys go out there and get on him and shut him down.”


On if he felt he had to monitor his behavior in Washington because things might get ‘blown out of proportion’ following the end of his tenure in Philadelphia:

“I think that speaks for itself, honestly. As far as anything you do in life, being in the NFL and being in the position that I’m at in my career, regardless of what it is, you kind of have to over-analyze anything you do. Being in the NFL, it’s like you’re under a microscope and everything you do is being looked at. So being able to come here to Washington and play for the Redskins, since Day 1, since I stepped in here with this organization, I was just myself. I didn’t really change. They accepted me for who I was. I didn’t really have to prove anything to them because they knew what type of player and person I was. That was the best thing and the best reason why I chose to come here to play in Washington. My teammates are a good group of guys that go out there and work hard. We compete versus each other and vice versa. Our coaches challenge us to go out there and put the best on film and do the best we can to help win games. That’s the biggest thing we can say. The first game didn’t go the way we wanted it to go, last week we [were] able to come out versus a team that we felt we should have won. Regardless of that, it’s the NFL and any given Sunday, you’ve got to go out there and prepare, have got to play, so that’s what we look forward to this Sunday coming up. It’s just another football game for us.”


On his friendships with Eagles players and if he’ll be excited to see Eagles coaches and managementSunday:

“Honestly, man, I have friends on the team, but my focus is more here in this locker room, doing what we need to do win a football game. Obviously, it’s an NFC East game, and I’m very familiar with NFC East games and I’m not here to be buddy-buddy, you know? I want to win football games for this team here. Once game time comes, I could care less about anything else. Burgundy and gold are my colors now and that’s all I’m going to focus on, that’s all I’m going to worry about. Buddy-buddy, there is no time for that once game time starts. So, you’ve kind of got to put all that aside and go out there and battle, play football and try to do our best to win a football game.”


On transitioning from quarterback Robert Griffin III to quarterback Kirk Cousins and how they have adjusted to his speed:

“I mean, the biggest thing is going out there and practicing. You have to go out there and get reps. He has to see it, you have to go back into the film room and just make a judgment. It’s an overall judgment when you play this game. You have to see it. Football is a game where everything happens in front of your eyes. If you’re not able to see and not able to judge and just have that feeling of how things are going to turn out, this game is one of them games where it would be hard to be successful at. He’s been playing the game for a long time. I’ve been playing the game for a long time, but we have a great feeling for going out there and adjusting on the run. So the more and more we practice, the more and more reps we have to go out there and play preseason games, the beginning of the season, it got better. Unfortunate he’s going to be down for a couple of weeks, but I feel

comfortable in kirk cousins to come in and do a great job, as everybody saw he did on Sunday and just help this team win games. As long as the quarterback in huddle is being in control and making good reads and getting the ball out of his hands, it makes it that much harder on the defense and the defensive coordinator. We all feel Kirk can get the job done.”


On the Eagles’ decision to release him:

“Honestly, that’s their decision. They made the decision. They moved on. I moved on. I’m just blessed, like I said, to have a second opportunity to play here in Washington, and, you know, it’s not about them anymore. It’s about what we’re doing over here – what I need to do to better my career and what I need to do to help my organization win games. So, this week we have a great opportunity to go play the team that has a lot of pub and everybody’s been congratulating them on the things they’ve done good. Hopefully, we can go out there and exploit them and win the football game.”


On what kind of reception he expects in Philadelphia:

“That’s something I’m going to have to wait to see. I’ve never had to experience that. So going out there and playing on Sunday will be a reaction that I’m yet to see how they treat me. I felt I put it on the line for them when I played there and [know] what I’ve done to help that organization win games. As far as if they congratulate me or boo me or whatever the case may be, I’m ready for whatever it is.”


On if he can give any advice to his teammates about the Eagles’ offense:

“Yeah, I’m very familiar with their offense. They do some great things – high speed, high tempo. The biggest thing I can tell these guys is keying in on certain plays – what their characteristics are, what they like to do. Everything they do over there, I know. As far as what I can tell my guys here to help them out, I’ll do the best I can. At the same time, they’ve still got to go out there and stop it. So, no matter how much advice I give them, no matter how much I prepare them, they’re still going to have to go out there and stop it. It’ll be an interesting thing to see. I think our defense is great. They’ve been flying around, doing some great things this year.  It’s going to be a high-powered game, and we feel very confident on our side that we’ll be able to go out there and get it done.”


On his willingness to play through pain on Sunday:

“Honestly, I’m not jeopardizing or hurting my body more than it is. I wouldn’t be into doing that. But at the same time, it’s not any broken bones, no torn ligaments or things like that, so at the end of the week we’ll see how it plays out. But, I don’t think an AC joint is jeopardizing my career in the long haul. If it’s all on me, I’m playing. I don’t plan on missing this game.”



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