Here is a fact: Kirk Cousins is among the best — and maybe the best — local athlete at addressing reporters by their first names while answering their questions. He might be more adept at this trick than any Washington athlete over the past 10 years.
“How do you go about building chemistry with a new receiver?” ESPN’s John Keim might ask.
“Well, John … “Cousins will reply.
“Why was the offensive line so dominant against the Raiders?” The Washington Post’s Mike Jones might ask.
“That’s a good question Mike,” Cousins could answer.
“Wait is it really true that you love the soundtrack from the musical ‘Hamilton’?” I might ask.
“You know Dan, I always have loved show tunes,” Cousins will admit, because Kirk Cousins and I go all the way back and have built up mutual respect even when we might disagree and are definitely on a first-name basis. When you’re a regular reader of the D.C. Sports Bog and the print edition of The Washington Post, you know my name is Dan, and that’s why you call me Dan.
“You media people will be happy to see I’ve got your names and faces here on a printout,” Cousins told new WUSA sports anchor Darren Haynes during a tour of his locker, while showing him said printout. “So I can hopefully remember all your names as you guys change from year to year.”
Whatever your feelings on Cousins — Kirk, to me — I hope you will acknowledge that this is a perfectly on-brand move for him. He prepares incessantly. He organizes his days with color-coded charts. He has a Redskins Park nook to aid in his studying. And he keeps photos of Rick Snider and Thomas Boswell and Kevin Sheehan and Scott Allen in his locker, so that he can call all of us by our first names when appropriate.
And don’t you even dare suggest that Cousins should be spending that time studying his playbook instead, because dealing with the media is a real part of an NFL quarterback’s responsibilities, and Cousins does it brilliantly, and by maintaining a friendly relationship with the media you might also give rise to a media corps willing occasionally to give you the benefit of the doubt, and this sentence just consumed itself and is now wrapping its head fully around its tail.
Speaking of which: Here is another element of Cousins’s locker: a photo of a frog fighting a bird. He said it was sent to him in 2014, “when I wasn’t playing very well and was riding the bench,” from a longtime friend at Michigan State.
“And actually put this note with it, he said, ‘I suggest you tape this up in your locker,’ ” Cousins told WUSA. “So I took him seriously and taped it up in my locker. It’s just a little cartoon of a bird eating a frog. Then the frog, even though he’s halfway down the bird’s mouth, he’s still choking the bird out. And it just says don’t ever give up.”
Other highlights from his locker: a lengthy biblical verse (Matthew 6:19-34), and a Redskins Buffalo nickel sweatshirt that he got from the team’s equipment staff.