There have been reports coming out of Redskins Park this week, the kind that tend to happen when a team is 0-2. Defensive end Ricky Jean Francois was fired up about them following Wednesday’s practice.
First, there was a report after the team’s 27-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday that “multiple offensive players” were complaining about quarterback Kirk Cousins’s performances through two games. Cousins has thrown just one touchdown pass and three interceptions, and he hasn’t been able to produce big plays when the team needed them most against the Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“Like I’ve said before, and hopefully one of my teammates is listening to me right now, don’t be anonymous,” Francois said. “Just step out and tell us how you really feel about Kirk. At the end of the day, that man is going to be our quarterback. At the end of the day, if you’re going to talk about that man, there’s no need for you to be in our damn locker room. There’s no need for you to even be here.”
Cousins threw for 4,166 yards with 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions last season. He finished the season strong to help Washington win its final four games and clinch the NFC East division title. Cousins is out to prove that 2015 wasn’t a fluke, however, as he’s currently playing on the franchise tag for $19.95 million with the hopes of scoring a significant long term deal during the offseason.
“This man said he’s going to put all the chips on him to win, [I’m going to] do just that,” Francois said of his quarterback. “The same faith he has in himself, [I’m going to] have the same faith in him. I want him to go ball, be successful out there and do things.”
Francois understands the Redskins have had two bad outings at home to start the season, but he said the fault doesn’t solely lie on Cousins’s shoulders. He felt the entire team should be blamed, both coaches and players, for the slow start.
“If anybody really got something to say about Kirk in this locker room, my locker right here,” Francois said. “I ain’t gonna come anonymous.”
There was also another report on Wednesday morning that cornerback Josh Norman would trail New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. throughout the game except in the slot. Francois said the report came out before the defensive players knew of the decision.
“I don’t even know if that’s even the game plan but just the point of knowing that we possibly could’ve said something like that, it got out so fast,” Francois said. “We came in from walkthrough, looked up and I’m like, ‘Damn, we didn’t even get a real discussion in with this.’ But that’s the locker room for us.”
So what can the team do to fix this? Francois said there’s not a solution, that it’s part of what happens in an NFL locker room. Francois said he’s not frustrated by these leaks and reports, however. Instead, he finds it comical that players in the locker room have a negative perception of Cousins after leading the Redskins to the playoffs last year.
“People got mouths,” Francois said. “In this world, people are going to judge people and people are going to say things. At the end of the day, the only thing you can control is what you can. I’m in control of helping this team win this game and our focus is beat the Giants at their home. They’re a good team right now. Eli [Manning] is on point. I see their receivers are balling right now. Their defense is on point. That’s the biggest story to us right now.
“It shouldn’t be about Kirk Cousins. It shouldn’t be about Josh. It shouldn’t be about the uproar in the locker room. Ain’t nothing in the locker room – look around. You see guys playing shuffleboard. You see guys laughing. You see guys talking about what went on with their day. It’s crazy that we’ll get anonymous tips about what’s going on. In this world, we’re always going to have anonymous people because you’ve got fear in your heart. If you’re real, you’re going to step to somebody real and tell them how you really feel and not go behind a keyboard or – not none of you reporters – but holler at another reporter on the slick and be like, ‘Well, we don’t like Kirk Cousins.’ Nah, you ain’t got to do that. The man is the quarterback of this team. He wants to win and so do we.”
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