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5 Takeaways: Dec. 9 Kirk Cousins Presser

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Here's five takeaways from Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins' Dec. 9 press conference at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.


1. Cousins says he really appreciates when his weapons give him feedback during games.

Not every play is going to go according to plan, and sometimes on passing plays when Cousins is trying to elude pressure while concurrently trying to scan the field, he can't get to every weapon.

So the times when they're back on the sideline, running through plays on and making adjustments with the coaching staff and teammates are helpful for Cousins.

"If they're not telling me on the sidelines after a series, I'm usually asking, 'Were you open there?' or 'I heard you were open there,' or 'I looked at the picture and you were open and I should have gotten you the football,'" Cousins said. "These guys, they're professionals. They know when they should be getting the ball. They know when it probably isn't coming their way. A lot of times, they know my reads."

While someone like DeSean Jackson is very demonstrative on the field, it comes from his competitive spirit, others are a little more quiet.

Regardless, Cousins values all of their opinions.

"Like I've said, they've made me right, many, many times," Cousins said. "I'm going to need them to continue to get open and make plays for us here down the stretch."

2. Cousins says that it's been a "combination of factors" that's allowed to have success with play-action boot legs.

While the run game has had mixed results in the run game recently, one way in which the Redskins have counteracted their struggles getting the running backs going is through play-action plays.

More specifically, they've been sharp on bootlegs in which Cousins has a little extra time to let the wide receivers extend through the route.

"When you run the ball and commit to running the ball, teams have to stop that," Cousins said. "So when you do anything that looks like a run and then you pass off of it, it's going to keep teams guessing. Defenses have responsibilities and you kind of put them in a bind when you run a play like that and make them have to honor the run while also having to honor that bootleg."

Sometimes teams have an answer for it and sometimes they don't.

"Those plays are week-to-week, game-to-game, quarter-to-quarter," Cousins said. "Depending on how guys are playing it you've got to be able to adapt and adjust as in anything."

3. Not having Derek Carrier was a challenge, as the Redskins had to use offensive linemen as extra blockers.

For the first time since the team traded for him, Carrier was inactive on Monday as he continues to be effected by an ankle and Achilles injury.

And with Jordan Reed obviously more of a pass-catching tight end than a natural blocker, the team decided to use Tom Compton and Ty Nsekhe more as eligible receivers.

"It's never easy when you have injuries, definitely some adversity thrown your way and we've had our fair share this year," Cousins said. "I think it's part of playing in the NFL though. You realize after – now I'm going on four years – you realize by the end of the season usually you lose some key players along the way and you have to do your best with what you have. Is it a little more challenging? Sure. But we feel like we can always come up with a plan and have an answer to whatever comes our way. We hope to get Derek back as soon as possible. When we do, I think he'll really be able to help our offense."

While Compton and Nsekhe have jointly filled the role over the last two games, one of the difficulties in having them out there is outside of a pass that was called back, neither has been a passing game target this season.

"You can still throw the ball out of those formations or those personnel groupings," Cousins said. "There's no reason you can't. They've still got to play it honest and handle their gaps and play their responsibilities. We still have a job to do to."

4. The Redskins are still in the middle of the race for an NFC East title, but they must win this weekend to ensure they keep pace with the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys.

While the Redskins have been one of the toughest teams to play on home turf this season – they're 5-2 at FedExField with their two losses coming by a combined 10 points – they are the only team in the NFL that hasn't won on the road this season.

They get another crack at winning on the road this weekend when they play the Bears, who are 1-5 at Soldier Field this season.

"I think we definitely need to win on the road," Cousins said. "We have experience playing on the road. It's always a challenge but we have confidence in our teams and our offense's ability to go out there and have success. We had halftime leads in two of the games that we ended up losing on the road. We just have got to come out, play our brand of football, play as mistake-free as we possibly can and, if you do that, you give yourself a great chance."

5. Cousins and his teammates are moving on from Monday's loss.

There's no simple way to put the frustration oozing from the locker room after Monday's closely contested loss to the Cowboys.

The Redskins had their chances to not only win the game, but take a firm lead over their division rivals.

Instead, they're in a three-way tie for first with the Giants and Eagles and just one game ahead of the Cowboys.

But the Redskins have removed themselves from the emotion of their Monday Night Football loss as they turn their attention to the Bears.

"There's a balance of frustration over what happened on Monday night and a bit of a sour taste in our mouths," Cousins said. "Then there's also understanding that in the NFL it's next week and you get your focus on what is up ahead. We've been here before off a tough loss just regrouping and now saying we've got a job to do and a lot of games that are still important to go win."

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