Redskins.com's Jake Kring-Schreifels provides five takeaways from Kirk Cousins's press conference at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun Co., Va.
1.The offense feels whole again with Jordan Reed back.
Cousins had a nice smile on his face talking about having Reed back in practice Wednesday. In his first opportunity to take reps since being cleared off the PUP list, Reed's impact is already noticeable to Cousins, who now has all of his offensive weapons at his disposal together.
"It means a great deal to have Jordan Reed in our offense," Cousins said. "He's one of our best players on the team and he's a joy to play with, great to have him back…We haven't had many days where the whole group is together. So this felt like the first day, not only to have Jordan in place, but to really have what we'd like to think is our offense – at least to start the season. So, it felt good to have everybody working together and have all of our guys on the field."
When asked what specifically Reed does on the field that makes him such a threat on offense, Cousins said his receiver-as-tight-end ability, specifically his "movement skills," have created such troublesome matchup problems for defenses.
"If you want to put your best corner on Jordan Reed, that's one option, but then now you're opening a door for whoever else is out there – a Josh Doctson, a Terrelle Pryor, a Vernon Davis, so on and so forth," Cousins said. "So, we're always looking for those matchup advantages and they tend to be in Jordan's favor, just because of how uniquely gifted he is. And then, usually a guy covering him is not necessarily the top cover guy on the team."
2. Chase Roullier has done just fine stepping in for Spencer Long at center.
With Spencer Long out for at least a couple of weeks due to a knee scope, the Redskins will rely on rookie Chase Roullier at center in the meantime. In three combined practices with him, dating back to training camp, Cousins has liked what he's seen.
"I can only imagine all the changes that come with going from playing at Wyoming to playing here, and playing for Coach [Bill] Callahan and all the protection calls and all the fronts that you see. He's handled it very well. He's very intelligent. You can tell he's a pro's pro. He was a good draft pick. He can pass protect, I think that's a strength of his, his ability to hold up in pass protection. There's going to be growing pains. That's understandable, but it's exciting to see potential when it's there, and it's certainly there with Chase."
Cousins continued his praise, calling him a "class act" and that he's excited to work with him as they prepare for their first game together as a snapping duo.
"We're going to throw him in the fire against the Bengals and see what he can do," Cousins said. "I'm going to do all I can do to help him, making protection calls and trying to be decisive so he doesn't have to think too much. But I'm excited to get him out there and see what he's got."
3. The offense's scoring drive last Saturday happened in part because of a good tempo.
It wasn't until the final seconds of the second quarter until the Redskins' first team offense finally got across the goal line, but the sustained drive that got them there was worth it.
The team used the two-minute drill effectively, going 78 yards in one minute and 55 seconds, culminating with a Jamison Crowder touchdown pass.
Check out these photos of the Redskins' offense preparing for their preseason Week 3 game against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Aug. 23, 2017, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park.
"I do think we got in a rhythm in that two-minute, which helps. Plays were working and sometimes that can feed the next play. We've been pretty good when we get in a no-huddle and just have an up tempo to our offense, that's been good for us. We didn't get behind the chains. We were – I think for the most part – in second-and-medium or third-and-medium. We didn't put ourselves in a lot of tough situations of third-and-12 or third-and-15. I think it was good to have that drive, but we've all acknowledged that so far this preseason we haven't been good enough for what we want to do this regular season."
For the most part, dating back the last couple of seasons, the Redskins have done much better in fast-paced situations. Cousins doesn't seem to think there's a specific reason for that success other than the fact that the defense can't regroup.
"Usually when you don't huddle, you can regulate defenses, they can't substitute, maybe they get a little fatigued I'd like to think," he said. "Sometimes you have the right play call for the right coverage or you just execute properly and sometimes you can slow the pass rush down by going no-huddle and forcing them to be a little winded but no one thing makes the difference."
4. Post-practice sessions with Terrelle Pryor Sr. continue to benefit the offense.
After practice on Wednesday, Pryor remained on the field working on some routes with Cousins, part of a work habit that became popular this offseason.
Cousins sees them to be valuable opportunities to go over the finer points of their timing on various routes and adjusting to Pryor's size and speed.
"I think we've said it all along that one of the benefits of working with Terrelle is that he just really loves football," Cousins said. "And that's evident with the fact that he wants to stay after practice, he wants to talk about the routes and the nuances of it. I think, again, what some of the stuff we're working on goes back to the fact that, as good as he is, as talented as he is, there's still a lot more there.
"I enjoy playing with him and I take it upon myself to get him the football, give him opportunities," he added. "He's so talented, and he has such a good heart and works so hard, I want to make sure he's given a chance to be really successful and have a great year this year."
5. Cousins doesn't feel behind, but wants to make up for lost time.
That the offense is finally at full capacity should make things much easier for Cousins and give the team a better understanding of what the Redskins will look like come the regular season. Still, Cousins didn't want to say he felt behind because of the limited time he's had with certain receivers.
"I don't know if I want to say I feel 'behind.' I think that would create a headline that I don't want to put out there, but would I have liked for Jamison Crowder, Jordan Reed and Josh Doctson to practice every single day from OTA one to now? Yes," Cousins said. "Is it a little bit frustrating that we didn't have that? Sure. But, fortunately, some of these guys have played a lot of football and I'd like to think that any rust that would be there is going to be gone by Week 1. I'm optimistic but I think we still need to get the rust off between now and then. I don't think it's fully off yet."
That rust pertains to just about everything.
"Football's a fast game and there's split-second decisions that receivers are making on coverage adjustments and there's decisions I'm making," Cousins said. "There's body language that I'm going to read to throw a ball a certain way with a little more touch or a little more anticipation or try to drive it a little more. All of that happens with just playing and getting a feel for someone. I think the longer we practice together, the more we hone in and fix all those errors."