While Robert Griffin III juggles the demands of his stardom with the rigors of learning the NFL game, the Washington Redskins’ other rookie quarterback is undergoing the early stages of his pro football education without much fanfare.
Kirk Cousins was selected by the Redskins in the fourth round of the NFL draft in April, three rounds after the team used the draft’s second overall choice on Griffin. Cousins, unlike Griffin, hasn’t been hailed as the savior of the franchise and hasn’t been named the team’s starter months before even taking a snap in a preseason game.
Cousins’s selection raised eyebrows among some draft observers who wondered why the Redskins, coming off two seasons in which they totaled only 11 victories, would use a second pick in the same draft on a quarterback. Cousins’s longterm place in the organization would be unclear if Griffin fulfills his considerable promise.
But there is a learning curve for both of the team’s rookie quarterbacks, and Cousins said after Thursday’s OTA that he’s doing his best to make progress during the Redskins’ offseason practices.
“I think that I do need to push myself each and every day to spend extra time studying, to go home at night and draw up the plays over and over,” Cousins said. “What I need is reps. I need repetitions. I’m going to get so many at practice. But off the practice field, I have to make mental reps count and I have to be in my notebook and drawing the plays over and over so that I get to a point where I’m not thinking and it’s just a reaction. I have to play fast, and I’m not there yet. But the sooner I get there, the better I’m going to play.”
Cousins spoke to a few reporters near the entrance to the team’s headquarters, a short walk from where Griffin would stand at a podium to address a much larger group of media members at his post-practice news conference.
“Certainly there is a difference from being a fifth-year senior at a place that’s become familiar to you over five years and now coming to a new surrounding, new offense, new people, new coaches,” Cousins said. “There’s a lot of change there. But as a freshman at Michigan State, I wasn’t the big, heralded recruit. I wasn’t the guy getting a lot of reps. I wasn’t the guy that everyone was talking about to be the future quarterback. So it reminds me of my freshman year of college. It’s something I’ve been through before and I’m certainly drawing on that experience to have a great first rookie year.”