Despite a degree of uncertainty still hovering over Kirk Cousins, the quarterback and his receivers are proceeding as if he will remain under center for another season.
Newly signed wide receiver Terrelle Pryor and Cousins traded text messages over the weekend, and the quarterback, Pryor and other Redskins receivers plan to soon get together to get a head start on offseason practices — which start late next month.
“I’ve spoken to Kirk for a little bit; traded text messages back and forth the other night, so it was good,” Pryor said on Monday while taking part in an introductory conference call with local reporters. “A couple of the other receivers and myself are going to be meeting with him and start working together. … I’m really looking forward to meeting my new teammates.”
Speaking further about the Redskins, Pryor said, “I like the supporting cast: Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis. I just kind of felt like adding myself in there will help us get some wins.”
Pryor, who last Thursday signed a one-year, $8 million deal with Washington, said that based on everything he has been told by coaches, team officials and Cousins himself, he expects the quarterback to remain with the team in 2017.
“I’m assuming he’ll be the quarterback,” the 6-foot-4, 223-pound Pryor said. “I’d love the opportunity to play with Kirk. He’s a great quarterback.”
Pryor, who spent the first two seasons of his career as a quarterback and last year made the full-time switch to wide receiver, said receiving assurances of the Redskins’ plans for Cousins carried some importance, but it wasn’t all that he cared about while considering Washington.
“I don’t want to say it was my first priority because, at the end of the day, you want to be wanted. You want to be with a team that wants you on the team,” Pryor said. “Washington was very aggressive in terms of wanting me to be on the team. I played with six quarterbacks last year, so I don’t think it will get that bad. Obviously, I would like to play with Kirk. I’d be an idiot if I didn’t believe that. He’s a great quarterback, and, hopefully, that happens.”
Although new to the position, Pryor had a stellar 2016 season, recording 77 catches for 1,007 yards, four touchdowns and 48 first downs. He attributed much of his success to offseason work with his trainer and former NFL great Randy Moss. Pryor continues to work with both, but also said that Redskins wide receiver coach Ike Hilliard and Coach Jay Gruden already shared areas where they what him to focus on sharpening as he continues to develop as a pass-catcher.
Gruden’s offense also made the Redskins attractive, Pryor said, and he sees a lot of similarities in Washington’s schemes because Cleveland Browns Coach Hue Jackson coached under Gruden in Cincinnati. So, Pryor doesn’t feel like he’ll have to completely start over.
Pryor expects the daily competition from facing cornerback Josh Norman in practices to help make him better. Matched up primarily against Norman in a game last season, Pryor recorded five catches for 46 yards and a touchdown. The cornerback did get the best of Pryor when Norman beat the receiver to the ball to make a game-sealing interception. Well aware of Norman’s capabilities, Pryor expects he will feed off his new teammate.
“I’m very excited because . . . iron sharpens iron,” Pryor said. “I’m not saying I’m on his level or anything like that. I just know he’s a competitor and I competed against him on a high level and he competed against me at a high level, and he’s fiery, and any opportunity to compete against somebody that wants to be great, I’ll take that opportunity every day.”
Pryor comes to the Redskins at a time of great upheaval. The team last week fired general manager Scot McCloughan, allowed top pass-catchers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson to walk, and has yet to work out a long-term contract for Cousins. But Pryor didn’t focus on anything other than the Redskins’ interest in him and how he would fit.
“At the end of the day, it’s an opportunity. I don’t take that for granted,” he said. “I can’t control or share on what’s going on internally. I think they’re handling that. All I can do is come in and be the best teammate I can be. I’m ready to come in and prove I belong and that I’m along with them for the journey. . . . That’s the only thing I can really control or talk about.”