Backup quarterback Kirk Cousins said “there was always a thought” it was possible he’d be traded this offseason by the Washington Redskins but he “never really got a whole lot of information” on whether a deal was ever close.
Now that it appears Cousins will stay put and spend a third season as the understudy to Redskins starter Robert Griffin III, he says his approach will remain unchanged.
“I think the mind-set is the same as it’s always been since the day I was drafted,” Cousins said following Thursday’s practice at Redskins Park, “which is stay ready, make the most of your opportunities whether it’s in practice or in games, and learn this system as best you can, and play well in practice so that these coaches get excited about what you can bring to the team. So that’s kind of been my same mindset all the way along. And it really won’t change depending on circumstances.”
The Redskins repeatedly denied during the offseason that they were looking to trade Cousins or had an asking price in mind. But several people familiar with the team’s planning have said there were other clubs interested in Cousins. The Redskins, those people said, were willing to consider parting with Cousins for a second-round draft choice. There were reports during the NFL draft that the Redskins rejected an offer by the Cleveland Browns of a fourth-round pick for Cousins.
“I didn’t know what was truth and what was rumors, what was speculation,” Cousins said Thursday. “So it was hard for me to really read into anything because you didn’t know how true it was. So I think for the most part it was smart for me just to stay out of it.”
Asked whether there ever was a point at which he thought he wouldn’t remain in Washington, Cousins said: “I think there was always a thought that, you know, a move might happen. But at the same time, I would tell people I don’t know. I said, ‘It’s hard to say.’ And I never really got a whole lot of information one way or the other to really make any call.”
Cousins said he has done his best to keep the trade speculation from affecting his offseason preparations.
“Really, you just go on as business as usual,” he said. “I’ve always said control what you can control. I kind of stayed out of that whole process and just focused on if I’m back with the Redskins or if I’m not back, I’ve got to be working hard and doing all I can to be ready for another season. So it didn’t really change my day to day much.”
Cousins, who started the final three games of last season after former Redskins coach Mike Shanahan shut down Griffin, reiterated that he is excited by the arrival of the team’s new coach, Jay Gruden, and the elevation of Sean McVay from tight ends coach to offensive coordinator.
“It’s a really good system,” Cousins said. “I’ve said all along that when Coach Gruden got hired, I felt like we couldn’t have done better in terms of from a quarterback perspective, selfishly. Just the system I knew we were gonna be able to run and his play-calling ability and his knowledge of the quarterback position, I feel like from where I’m sitting as a backup quarterback, I’m in a really good spot to learn from him and Coach McVay as the offensive coordinator. So I’m really excited about the hire and the system we’re able to run.”