Here's five takeaways from Redskins quarterback Trent Williams' media session with reporters on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
1. Having Trent Williams back is always helpful for the team.
Left tackle Trent Williams returned to practice for the first time since being suspended for four games, a welcome sight for his quarterback.
"It's great to get Trent back under any circumstances, but when so many people are banged up, it's a real needed shot in the arm," Cousins said. "So, glad to have one of our best players back and I know he's ready to go and love to see his urgency and excitement coming back."
Williams hasn't been absent from the team facility for all four weeks. He's remained present during team meetings and has hosted players at his home like normal, trying his best to be an influence even when he can't be on the field. That's been no surprise to Cousins.
"He's a seasoned veteran and he understands what it takes to win," Cousins said. "And chemistry and leadership are a big part of NFL locker rooms and having success because the talent difference between teams is very small. So he understands the example he sets on a daily basis and the importance that it carries. He did a great job of staying engaged and cheering guys on and it's great to have him back."
2. Cousins likes raising offensive line awareness.
While Williams' return to the Redskins this week certainly helps bolster the offensive line, injuries have impacted other parts of it. Despite the changes at different positions, Cousins was grateful to be asked more about his O-line, and has been impressed with the depth along the line.
"It takes a lot of different people and it takes coaches – specifically on the offensive line, Coach [Bill] Callahan – getting guys ready on such short notice," Cousins said. "So it's a big part of the game, especially when you're going against a front-four like we are against the Eagles that can really rush the passer, that really don't have a weakness. You need five guys, and preferably six or seven, who can really play.
Check out these photos of the Redskins' offense preparing for their Week 14 game against the Philadelphia Eagles Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park.
"Unfortunately, you guys have to leave during practice, but if you could stay, you would see the work they're doing in one-on-ones and the work they're doing just with Coach [Bill] Callahan practicing picking up different fronts and pressures and stunts," he added. "I mean, they are down there working really hard."
In regards to center John Sullivan, who will take over for Spencer Long, in concussion protocol, this week, Cousins couldn't say enough nice things.
"John is so experienced and has played for so long in this league and played at a high level on some winning teams," Cousins said. "So thankfully because of John it's a pretty seamless transition and he's done a great job all season, but in the game and this week getting ready , he'll be ready to go if needed."
3. Cousins looks at things one game at a time.
"Own entity." That's the phrase that Cousins used to describe the way he looks at trends or history repeating itself or any other type of previous success potentially reoccurring.
He's played very well against the Eagles in his career, going 3-1 in four career games against them, throwing for 1,345 yards along with 10 touchdowns, two interceptions, and completing 63 percent of his passes to go along with a 101.3 quarterback rating. But all of that doesn't matter this Sunday.
"I don't know that the sample size is large enough really to say there's a correlation," he said. "I just think that each game you see what can happen and you never know. So I think there's starting to become a familiarity from both sides. I think they're starting to figure me out and I'm starting to learn more about them as individual players."
That four-game win streak last year to finish out the season and propel the team to the playoffs? That was nice, but Cousins doesn't take any specifics from that stretch to lean on either.
"All I can do today is prepare and go to practice and have a great practice, and I thought today I had a great practice and that's a good step," Cousins said. "So I just try to manage it one day at a time and trust that if I do that good things will happen. But there's no doubt that it's an important four week stretch here… I think we have to do it all over again, and last year really has no bearing on whether or not we deliver this year."
4. Cover-0 blitzes come during crucial times, you've just got to be prepared.
The Arizona Cardinals used a Cover-0 blitz, which means each defensive back plays man-to-man without any safety help, hoping the added pressure gets to the quarterback to alter his throw or prevent him from throwing altogether. That's what occurred on Sunday, when Cousins was forced into a bad pass to wide receiver Jamison Crowder that landed into Patrick Peterson's arms.
Cousins said Wednesday that he is generally prepared for all-out blitzes during crucial situations, pointing to a situation in the team's game against the Bengals, and that Sunday's miscue with Crowder wasn't so much related to his route as Cousins' pre-snap communication.
"We practice it so many times to be successful in those situations that the frustration was not coming away with the play there that we needed," Cousins said. "It goes back to a lot of mechanics and not getting the protection where it needed to go, and you put yourself in a disadvantage to try to make the throw."
5. Rob Kelley's versatility has been very helpful this year
Wide receiver Pierre Garçon extended his streak of consecutive regular season games played with a reception to 98, the sixth-longest active streak in the NFL. It's a small example of how consistent the veteran has been in his time with the Redskins, and how reliable he's been when others have gone down with injuries -- like on Sunday.
"You've seen him catch the deep ball and run by people," Cousins said. "You've seen him catch intermediate routes. You see him catch screens. You see him block in the run game. You see him make contested catches. You see him run over people once he catches the ball," Cousins said. "There's a versatility there where, OK, now you may now have his replacements have certain specialties; Pierre has the ability to just step out there and, OK, he can cover it all.
"His consistency is not to be taken lightly," he added. "It's a great comfort to me. He's just a phenomenal competitor. He works really hard, prepares really hard. He's a difference maker on our team. He has been now for several years. He's a guy that you're glad he's been able to stay healthy and continue to contribute."