Windy conditions, pressure from the Jets defense and having to identify coverages and protections ranked among the items on Gruden’s list.
However on Monday, the coach said he probably went overboard in his explanation, and insisted that he wasn’t trying to “baby” his quarterback.
“I talk too much. But I’m not trying to make excuses for anybody,” said Gruden, who is usually known for his transparency and blunt assessments. “It wasn’t good enough for anybody – not Kirk, not myself, not the offensive line, not the coaching staff. There was nobody in this locker room that played good enough to win a football game on Sunday afternoon. I’m not making excuses for anybody, I’m not trying to baby anybody. I’m trying to get our team ready to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers moving forward and get this thing back on the right track.”
Despite enduring his fourth multiple-interception game of the season, the second in as many weeks and the 10th of his 20-game career, Cousins still has Gruden’s confidence.
The coach last season benched Cousins after five starts – he went 0-5 and threw nine interceptions and eight touchdown passes during that stint. However, Gruden said he has no plans to change quarterbacks as the Redskins prepare for a game against Tampa Bay that he described as “code red.”
“No, no,” he said when asked if he is thinking of benching Cousins. “We’re 2-4 right now. We were 0-1 and had a nice victory, and we lost to the Giants, and had a nice victory against the Eagles, then took two steps back here the last couple weeks and are 2-4. We’ve got another game here against Tampa Bay – big, huge game for us – and then we’ve got the bye week and we’ll go from there. I’m not looking to make any drastic changes right now. I have faith in all the players, we’ll go from there and get this thing turned around.”
Gruden had Robert Griffin III on a short leash last season, benching him after five struggle-filled starts, and then pulled the plug on Griffin again late this preseason after the quarterback’s shortcomings continued.
However, Gruden has said it takes time for a young quarterback to develop, and that he believes Cousins simply needs time. Asked how much time is adequate, Gruden said, “That’s a great question. Hopefully that’ll be answered here the next few weeks, the next five, six, seven, eight games. But I don’t want to judge a quarterback off of yesterday’s game. I think he’s done some good things this season to warrant him receiving consideration as a starting quarterback in the NFL for some time.”
Reiterating his support, Gruden later said, “I feel like Kirk gives us the best chance to win, still. You want to see him fight through this. That’s going to be the making of a strong person, a strong football player in how they react to some tough times and how they improve, so I’m excited to see him bounce back and have a good game this week and coming weeks. We’ll see how this goes.
“I’ve seen him throw the ball out here many, many times. I’ve seen him make every throw there is to make in pro football. We’ve just got to get his confidence going, we’ve got to help him, players have to help him around him and we’ve got to do a better job of coaching, but I’ve seen him do it, and I know he can do it.”
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