Kirk Cousins says he thinks he’s made improvement

Kirk Cousins (left) has made two starts since Mike Shanahan sat down Robert Griffin III for the remainder of the season (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Kirk Cousins (left) has made two starts since Mike Shanahan sat down Robert Griffin III for the remainder of the season (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Two games into his three-start audition to be an NFL starting quarterback, Kirk Cousins said Tuesday he thinks he has done relatively well but he realizes there are aspects of the game in which he must perform better.

“I feel like I’ve improved,” Cousins said after Tuesday’s practice at Redskins Park. “I’ve done some good things. I feel like there’s a lot I can take from it and be encouraged about going into the offseason. Obviously I want to still finish strong and show even more this week. But I think there’s a lot to be feeling positive about and there are other things to be hard on yourself and go back and learn from. I think I’m in a good spot right now. Obviously we would have liked those be wins. But we’re two points away from being 2-0 in this three-game stretch and hopefully we can get a win this week.”

The Redskins have suffered a pair of one-point losses, to the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys, since Cousins took over as the starter after Coach Mike Shanahan shut down Robert Griffin III for the remainder of the season.

Cousins threw for 381 yards and three touchdowns against the Falcons but also committed three turnovers, losing a fumble and throwing two interceptions. He cut down on the interceptions against the Cowboys, with only one. But he threw for a modest 197 yards, with one touchdown, against a Dallas defense that entered the game ranked last in the NFL both against the pass and overall.

“Similar to my thoughts after the Atlanta game — there are probably two or three throws that you want to have back,” Cousins said. “And you feel like if you even hit one of them, it could be the difference in the game, in a game that was that close. Unfortunately I can’t get them back. It’s encouraging to think you’re that close to playing at a level that’s gonna get your team a win. But I’m learning. I’m getting better. I’m putting those things away and trusting in the future those are gonna help me have success, having gone through those experiences.”

Shanahan has said he considers Griffin still the team’s No. 1 quarterback but he believes legitimate competition is needed at the position. He also has said that Cousins’s trade value could be boosted if he plays well.

Cousins has been sacked only once over his two starts, that after Griffin was sacked 24 times in the last five games he started.

“I’ve always said that a quarterback is only as good as the guys around him,” Cousins said. “I feel like our offensive line has done an outstanding job of protecting me, not turning guys loose. If you look at me, I’m not the kind of guy who’s going to have escapability when somebody gets turned loose. So I’m at their mercy a little bit. They’ve done a great job. And then also [offensive coordinator] Kyle Shanahan has done a great job of play-calling to put me in a position to be successful where I’m able to get rid of the football and I’m able to find an outlet. It’s on me to not take sacks and I think the guys around me have done a great job to put me in a good position.”

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