Kirk Cousins has thus far been the most interesting man of the Redskins’ offseason, in a surprise upset over Brian Orakpo, DeAngelo Hall and Joshua Morgan.
While Orakpo and Hall have given no clues about their future, and while Morgan has continued to make clear his distaste for former Coach Mike Shanahan, Cousins tops them all for the frequency that he’s mentioned in the news: as trade bait, as a possible starter for several other teams, as a possible backup for Robert Griffin III. Mostly as trade bait for the Browns. But still.
Cousins was a guest on The “SiriusXM Blitz” with Bruce Murray and Rich Gannon on Wednesday, where he was asked exactly what you’d expect: Whether he’s eager to be a starter, whether he’s told that to his agent or Washington GM Bruce Allen, and whether he’s considered any possibilities.
“You know, I think whether it’s talking to my agent, whether it’s talking to Bruce Allen with our team or anybody else for that matter, I think the message that I want to say to people is I’m open to a trade,” Cousins responded. “I love it in Washington. I really do love this city. I love this fan base, the tradition here, my teammates. I’m comfortable here in that sense.
“Now what I want, and what anybody should want who’s a competitor, is a chance to have greater influence,” Cousins continued. “As a backup, you only have so much influence. I want to be able to influence and really lead an organization as a starting quarterback. Now, I’m willing to wait, I’m willing to be patient and hopefully earn that opportunity down the road. But if somebody wants to give me that opportunity sooner, I’d be open to that.
“And so I’ve communicated that to the people that need to hear it,” Cousins said. “But at the same time, it’s a win-win for me. Because I’m excited if I have to be back in D.C., and I’d be excited if I get a chance to start somewhere. But either way, I want to make sure I’m proactive and communicate where I’m coming from, and then let the people who have the power to make those decisions make those decisions. But I do want my thoughts to be heard, and that’s just that I’m open to being traded.”
Well, I guess he’s open to being traded, if I’m reading that correctly. (You can hear some of the audio here.)
Cousins was then asked how he reacts to seeing his name in the news, linked to possible teams or possible coaches or possible GMs.
“Well, I think you can usually tell — based on the source and based on people who have more knowledge of the situation — you can tell how much of that rumor is truth and how much of that rumor is gossip, and it varies from time to time,” Cousins said. “But basically I go to the people who I know are going to give me an honest answer and straight talk. That tends to be my agent, and that’s why I picked the agent I did, because he is going to give me the truth whether I like to hear it or not. He’s honest with me, and I just keep an open mind.
“And this is not the first time where I’ve dealt with uncertainty or not knowing what’s going to happen next,” Cousins said. “This tends to be the norm in my career and especially in the NFL. So I’ll just roll with it and be excited about whatever opportunity I get. But as much as I am open for a trade, I’m certain excited about being a Redskin and do enjoy it here in D.C.”
Again, I’m sensing that he’s open to being traded. And Cleveland? What of Cleveland? He didn’t really go there. I mean, he didn’t really discuss it.
“Well, I think you certainly keep an open mind,” Cousins said. “You don’t want to be caught off-guard. But then that open mind could be just staying in D.C. for two more years or whatever it may be. So I’m gonna roll with whatever happens. There certainly are teams out there looking for a quarterback, but there’s just so many variables that combine to decide what direction you go. You look at the draft, you evaluate those guys at the top of the draft. You’ve got to compare ‘em to who else you could get in free agency or who you could get in a trade, and you’ve got to factor in what kind of draft picks are you willing to part with.
“And so, so many things come into play,” Cousins said. “I’m sure will go back and look at their draft notes on me when I was coming out of college and then compare that to what they’ve seen on film thus far in my NFL career. So, a lot of variables. Everybody’s gonna have a different opinion on when I was coming out in the draft, people are gonna have a different opinion on how I’ve played this past two seasons, and we’ll just go from there. But certainly it’s in God’s hands, and I’m just excited about being in this league. I feel like I’m living a dream, and hopefully that dream can continue and maybe get a greater platform going forward.”
Cousins was also asked about his three-game audition as a starter at the end of the season, which probably went poorer than he had hoped.
“You know, it’s a challenge,” he said. “And it was a strange situation to get put in with three games left. You know, you’re out of the playoff race, you’re trying to keep guys motivated with not a lot to play for. I thought it was a great opportunity. Any time you go out there, success or failure, you’re gonna learn from it, you’re gonna get better. And I’ve always said I’d rather get a lot of reps in practice so I can hopefully make those failures without 70,000 people or more watching.
“But sometimes you get experience under those bright lights and you make those mistakes and you learn from them,” Cousins concluded. “So I progressed as a quarterback, matured as a quarterback and a person in those three weeks, got a lot better. And it’ll prepare me well gong forward into the 2014 season and beyond and give me much more confidence when I step in. Because I’ve now been there before and I’ve done it, good and bad.”