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5 Takeaways: Dec. 30 Kirk Cousins Presser

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Here's five takeaways from Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins' Dec. 30 press conference at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.


1. Cousins understands that the Redskins could decide to rest some of their starters during Sunday's game against the Cowboys, but he'd like to play.

Even though Cousins this season is playing like a man who has been under center for years, the reality is that the Michigan State product is still in his first season as a full-time starter in the NFL.

As the Redskins close out the regular season on Sunday against the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium, the offense has been clicking on all cylinders lately.

If asked to play either the whole game or at the very least part of it to keep the momentum going, Cousins will be ready.

"I feel good and I want to play," Cousins said. "And I feel as a young player that I want to continue to develop and get a rhythm. I'll always defer to the head coach with whatever he decides. I think it's a pretty fluid situation as we go."

Winning on Sunday would mean the Redskins enter the playoffs on a four-game winning streak with a record greater than .500.

"I'd rather be 9-7, yeah," Cousins said. "I'd like to go out there and play and earn our way to that, yeah."

2. Cousins may be 120 yards from setting the single-season passing yardage record in franchise history, but if achieved it is a team accomplishment, not an individual one.

Cousins is currently third in team history for the most passing yards in a single season with 3,990.

In 1999, Brad Johnson passed for 4,005 yards, while Jay Schroder – in his second of three seasons in Washington – totaled 4,109 yards in 1986.

Cousins, of course, would likely have to play at least a good chunk of Sunday's game to reach that mark.

If he does, Cousins said it shouldn't be all about him.

"I think any records that we're close to obtaining or that we do obtain is a reflection of the whole team, the whole offense, the whole coaching staff. It's not a reflection on one person," Cousins said. "This is a team game. I think it's a testament to everybody if we're able to accomplish anything that is record-breaking. I'll let the coaches decide that but certainly would be a reflection of everybody, not just one person."

Cousins is also currently fifth in franchise history for the most touchdown passes (26) in a single season.

Pro Football Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen passed for 31 touchdowns in 1967.

3. One reason Cousins has played so well is because of the "phenomenal job" the offensive line has done this season.

Remember some of the preseason talk about how the Redskins offensive line was still going to struggle this season even though they had Trent Williams and 2015 first-round pick Brandon Scherff?

The offensive line hasn't been a problem this season in the passing game. If anything, they've given Cousins ample time to make plays downfield.

"I think we've given up 26 sacks, down from 55-plus last year; I think it was more than that," Cousins said. "If we could stay under 30 after this game against Dallas, I think that would be a big accomplishment to almost cut our sack total in half, which is a credit to those guys."

One of the incredible feats of the offensive line has been how they've been able to plug inexperienced players into the lineup and still perform well.

Spencer Long, Ty Nsheke and Josh LeRibeus have all played this season after having little to no prior starting experience at their current positions.

"Just very pleased with the way people have stepped up in the absence of Kory Lichtensteiger and Shawn Lauvao, the way Morgan Moses has battled through several injuries in really what is his first year starting and contributing consistently," Cousins said. "It's exciting to be part of a group that has this much potential and promise in the way they work together, in the way they stick together – very, very impressive. I think they're growing. I think they're trending in the right direction. It's trending up. That's encouraging because you're not just looking at this week against Dallas, but for months and years to come, you've got some guys in place there that can be pretty special."

4. Cousins isn't looking too far ahead, but he distinctly remembers how loud FedExField when the Redskins played the Seahawks in the playoffs in 2013.

In their first home playoff game since 1999, one week after clinching the NFC East following a seven-game winning streak to end the regular season, the Redskins were boosted by a rambunctious FedExField crowd.

The Redskins would jump out to an early 14-0 lead before the game got away from them.

Cousins – who appeared late in the game in relief of Robert Griffin III – remembers the crowd being a factor.

"What I remember from the end of the '12 season going into '13 – we actually played the playoff game [in '13] – the atmosphere in FedExField, I'll never forget how electric it was," Cousins said. "It felt like it took on a whole other level of excitement. I think that was special and I would expect that to be the case again. I just remember the intensity and knowing what you were playing for added a little bit to it."

And the playoff action meant two of the best teams in the league were, of course, playing.

"Then knowing that you're playing a really good football team, I mean at that point you've kind of whittled down to really good teams and teams that are playing well and have hit their stride," Cousins said. "It's big time football and you want to be a guy who consistently plays in the playoffs and is a guy who has been there done that and has that experience. So in order to do that we've got to get there, which we were able to do, but now we've got to go win." 

While the Redskins won't know their first-round opponent until late Sunday evening, they'll play either the Seahawks, Packers or Vikings next weekend.

5. Pierre Garçon is hitting his stride at the right time.

While DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed have pieced together tremendous performances as of late, Garçon quietly has been the most consistent weapon this season.

He has at least 50 receiving yards in four of the Redskins' last five games and has touchdowns in back-to-back weeks for the first time since Weeks 6 and 7 of the 2014 season.

Where Garçon's impact has been felt most is on third downs, as the Mount Union product is currently third in the NFL on third-down catches with 28.

"He's doing a good job versus man-to-man coverage of creating separation and getting open," Cousins said. "He's doing a good job versus zone coverage of being disciplined with his routes. He's always been very detailed in his work, a total professional. He's the kind of guy you can rely on. He pretty much is fearless with his body in terms of catching the ball in traffic. That's the kind of guy that you love to play with and love to throw to because of the way he plays and how he helps make me right as a quarterback."

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