I’m treading carefully here, because I don’t want to get my own boots lodged in any of the sticky narrative traps that have bogged down so many others in recent weeks.
But I listened to Kirk Cousins’s press conference after his Redskins came up one point short in Atlanta on Sunday, and I couldn’t help but notice that it seemed like a conscious departure from many of the press-conference things that have earned RGIII talking-head criticism.
Now, I certainly don’t think Cousins was intentionally trying to avoid such criticism.
And I definitely think much of the criticism of RGIII’s press conference language was a bit hysterical.
And I’m not trying to stoke any embers.
This just seemed amusing.
You want your quarterback to take blame? Here’s Cousins.
* “Didn’t do enough to win. Two interceptions that were on me. A fumble that you don’t want to have. The two-point conversion, the failed attempt there, I felt like that was on me. Those are four plays right there that if they go differently, it’s probably a much different result.”
* “I, we just didn’t do enough to execute. But I think it starts right here with me.”
* “My initial reaction is I had both Josh Morgan open on an off-schedule play [on the conversion attempt], and if I’d set my feet I may have been able to drill it into Pierre. That’s a play that I clearly didn’t have a good enough feel for, and I need to go back and get better at it. I would like to think I had a chance there.”
* “There were just a couple times – two, three, four plays in the whole game – where I made a mistake and it cost us.”
* “Both of [the interceptions] were similar routes where the receiver has an in-cut, and I didn’t lead them enough. And that just comes with a poor understanding on my part of where I need to lead the receiver. I think I saw it right; I think he was open on both occasions. I think the ball just needed to be thrown maybe three, four, five yards further in, and it’s a completion and we’re moving the chains. And that’s something that I’d like to think I’ll never do again.”
You want your quarterback to praise his coaches? Here’s Cousins.
* “I thought it was a very well-called game by Kyle and by Mike. I loved the call to go for two at the end there. I felt like we had them on the ropes.”
* “I believe Kyle called an outstanding game, continued to give me a chance to have success.”
* “It’s just a credit to the playcalling. I continued to throw to open receivers, and that’s because Kyle was calling plays that were perfect for what they were doing.”
PRAISING THE DEFENSE
You want your quarterback to praise the guys on the other side of the ball? Here’s Cousins.
* “Credit the defense for holding them to a field goal and giving us a chance.”
* “I thought our defense did an outstanding job of giving us a chance and continuing to bail us out.”
PRAISING THE OFFENSE
You want your quarterbacks praising his offensive teammates? Here’s Cousins.
* “I’m only as good as the guys around me. I don’t believe we gave up a sack today.”
* “Our receivers caught the ball, did a great job advancing the ball after the catch, and the offensive line gave me time to progress. I kept getting to my second, third, sometimes maybe even my fourth read, and I had time. So that was a team effort, and I felt like I was given a chance to succeed.”
* “This is my second start, so I’m going to take all the help I can get.”
* “[RGIII's] positive attitude and his willingness to support me, to be there for me — he was the first one to celebrate after we scored, and I would expect nothing less from him.”
* “Outstanding [touchdown] catch by Fred. That’s a tough catch to make with your hands, and he did a great job with the DB closing on him, concentrating and making a tough catch.”
* “That was another great effort by [Pierre Garcon on his touchdown]. Double move, he was able to beat the corner and finish the play, especially when they ended up calling pass interference. So even more of a testament to Pierre, getting open like that.”
* “If anything, the message [in the huddle] came from the other 10 guys looking back at me — that we have confidence in you, we believe in you, we can go do this. And I think that was a big reason why we were able to have success.”