Paulsen asked Cousins, who sat out Thursday’s preseason finale against Jacksonville, how his role as a leader changes now that he’s at the top of the depth chart.
“I’ve always felt it’s very important as a backup quarterback to not overstep your bounds,” said Cousins, who has backed up Robert Griffin III for most of his career since the two were drafted in 2012. “It’s not your team. It’s not necessarily your offense, and so to be strong and opinionated and say this is how it should be, I think that that’s reserved for the starting quarterback. Or if you have an opinion, I think you need to defer to the starting quarterback.”
Cousins, who praised the way Griffin has handled the situation since losing his starting job, gave examples such as naming a play call or determining protection and cadences.
“There are times where as a backup quarterback, I think you say to the starter, ‘It’s your call, your decision. I will go with whatever you decide, it doesn’t matter what I think, you’re the one out there, you’re the one battling, it’s your call,'” Cousins said. “So as a starting quarterback now, I think I need to be a little more outspoken, opinionated, share my thoughts with the offense, with the coaches, with the other quarterbacks, but certainly as a backup there’s a place to step back and allow the guy who is playing to have those opinions and run the show. That’s a balance that you want to be able to walk when you are a backup.”
Even as the starter, don’t expect Cousins to start correcting everyone who mistakenly calls him “Kurt” instead of Kirk. He’ll continue to defer to their foolishness.
“For whatever reason, I think it rolls off the tongue a little more easily than my real name,” Cousins said with a laugh when asked about the common blunder on Friday. “There’s a lot of ‘K’ sounds going on when you pronounce my name, so I think Kurt might be a little easier. It’s certainly a more common name to just say Kurt, but you know, I don’t let it get to me too much, it’s okay, but I appreciate your guys’ commitment to excellence and the attention to detail to make sure you get that right.”
Listen to the full interview here.