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5 Takeaways: Oct. 21 Kirk Cousins Presser

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Here's five takeaways from Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins' Oct. 21 press conference at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.


1. While there's a lot being said about him right now, Cousins tries his best to get away from all the noise.

Whenever a quarterback struggles, heavy criticism follows. In Washington, D.C. -- one of the biggest media markets in the country -- that is only magnified.

Cousins' performance against the New York Jets last Sunday was perhaps his worst of the season, as he threw two costly interceptions and completed just 58 percent of his passes.

With sports talk radio and television focusing in on him, Cousins has his ways of keeping it all blocked out.

"I turn on NPR instead of 106.7 or 980 sometimes," he said. "I turn on HGTV instead of ESPN. I think there are times where you can intentionally block it out if you're asking how to do that. I don't have a lot of social media on my phone. So it's not quite as accessible to me as maybe it is to some other guys. There are ways that you can not hear it."

Cousins said all the chatter "doesn't do me any good to hear that."

"I know how important it is to me and to the people around me and to this fan base," he said. "I want nothing more than to help this team get to a place with a lot of wins and a playoff berth and all that. I'm heart-attack serious about making this happen. It takes time. It's going to take some work and we'll see where we are down the stretch here."

2. Yes, the Redskins would ideally like to get a win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before the Bye Week, but there isn't necessarily a heavier emphasis placed on this game vs. any other matchup.

Each and every week in the NFL is a must-win, and while the Redskins would certainly rather be 3-4 entering their week off instead of 2-5 -- and on a three-game losing streak -- Cousins believes there's no reason to "hit the panic button" right now.

"I don't think it's going to help us to be completely relaxed. I think in the middle lies virtue," Cousins said. "You've got to have a balance. We're taking it very, very seriously. We know how important it is, but at the same time if we start to act like we're hitting the panic button, we're all going to tighten up and we're going to struggle. We're always trying to find that perfect balance of the right mindset."

The Redskins have had their highs and lows this season, and while they are on a two-game losing streak, no one is holding their head low.

"I think we as professionals understand what it takes," Cousins said. "I do think we have a good group of guys in the locker room who do have the right amount of focus."

3. While Cousins didn't play against the Buccaneers in their matchup with the Redskins last season, he knows they're a capable group.

Led by 2013 first-team All-Pro Lavonte David and All-World defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, the Buccaneers have a defense that's currently fifth in total defense, giving up less than 325 yards per game.

"They've got guys who can play," Cousins said. "I played against Lavonte David in college and played with him at the Senior Bowl. He's only gone up and up and up. He keeps getting better. You know, Gerald McCoy is one of the best 3-techniques in the league, maybe the best or is the best. You know, they have a great pass rush. They're built for speed. They're fast and they're going to be all over the field playing fast, so we respect them and what they do. It's going to take a good amount of work this week to be ready for them."

Cousins said what's helped this year's Buccaneers version is the continuity in coaching staff as Lovie Smith is now in his second season leading the group.

"When the coaching staff stays the same, I think there's always value in going back and watching the previous year's game no matter who you're playing," Cousins said. "So, we do peek at that. Obviously now that we're this far along into the season you have plenty of games to go off of from this season that you can really to get a good feel."

4. There may not be a definitive answer as to what will solve the Redskins' season-long third quarter issues, but Cousins knows something needs to be done.

The Redskins have come out hot to start games this year, leading in five of six games at halftime, but they just haven't been the same team coming out of halftime.

In third quarters alone this season, the Redskins have been outscored 46-3.

Something has to change and the Redskins know it.

The question is, what exactly is it and how can they stop it?

"I have been preaching and Trent [Williams] was preaching the last couple of games at halftime, 'Hey, third quarter, third quarter has been tough for us for whatever reason, let's make sure we come out inspired. Let's make sure we come out with an edge to us,'" Cousins said. "So it wasn't for lack of preaching it. It wasn't for lack of emphasis. But, yeah, maybe there is, when you have a lead, maybe you get a little comfortable. I don't know.

Cousins does believe, though, that the Redskins shouldn't lose their edge searching for the remedy to their third quarter woes.

A look back at some of the top images in games between the Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"If we can put together two halves we'd be in a much better place," Cousins said. "I think that's the emphasis going forward is what can we do at halftime to really keep our edge. I'm sure everybody will be looking at that third quarter come this week."

5. The Redskins currently sit in last place in the NFC East at 2-4, but first place remains in striking distances after just six weeks.

The Philadelphia Eagles have done it over the last two weeks, and there's certainly still plenty of time for the Redskins to do it, too.

Just two weeks ago after the Eagles' loss to the Redskins, Philadelphia sat in last place in the NFC East.

Now they're in first place.

With just one less win than both the Eagles and Giants, the Redskins are still capable of climbing the ladder in the division.

"It's just so early," Cousins said. "We were saying that when we were 2-2 or when we were 1-1, it's so early that anything can happen. I've been a part of a team as you know in 2012 that won seven straight when people had basically ruled us out. We won the division and had a home playoff game, so I've learned that anything can happen and it's so important to take it one week at a time. Just focus on going 1-0 each week and then see where you are near the end, but if we do that, I think we'll be there."

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