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. Cousins realizes this could be his last home game, but is more worried about wanting fans to leave FedExField on a high note this year.
As has been the case for the last couple of years, quarterback Kirk Cousins will enter the offseason without a contract for next season. The team has numerous options to explore, but there remains the possibility that this Sunday could be Cousins's last game at FedExField as a member of the Redskins.
While Cousins insists on staying in the present, he reflected on this possibility by explaining that he won't approach Christmas Eve against the Broncos much differently than he has in years past. He knows fans were left with a sour taste after losing to the Giants in a game that could have clinched them a playoff berth.
"I guess those possibilities have come up before," Cousins said. "I guess now that it's been the third go around of that, you just kind of go out and play and let the chips fall where they may. I just want to make sure that in and of this season that we leave FedExField on a high note and give our home fans something to feel good about as they leave FedExField for the last time this season. That's really where the focus is –trying to have a finish here that causes the tenor of the season to feel much better as we walk away from it."
2. He knows training is important for his durability but that you're always one play away from being injured.
While Cousins has managed to put up strong numbers again in his third season as the team's starting quarterback, it's his endurance that has been tested most this season. Understandably, with a handful of different offensive linemen that seemed to change positions each week, Cousins has been sacked 38 times, the most in his career. Comparatively, in 16 games last year Cousins was sacked 23 times.
"I think it's important to know your limitations a little bit," Cousins said. "Get out of bounds when you can get out of bounds, slide when you can slide and just try to have a sense of where people are coming from and not ask for trouble – not step up into something, but be able to just step back or avoid it. Maybe you don't throw with your feet set in the ground because you feel someone falling at your shins, so your front, lead foot slides back and you kind of just throw with your hips and shoulders. There's little things like that you try to do to protect yourself."
The sheer amount of star players that have lost their seasons because of injuries – especially on the Redskins – gives Cousins every reason to know that freak plays can't be prevented, even if he is in the best shape of his life.
"I think a lot of guys in this league who have success are guys who can still make accurate throws without their feet or their platform being perfect," Cousins said. "Those are things you try to do to remain injury-free, but you never know what can happen."
3. He's extremely happy for the team's Pro Bowlers and credits the organization for bringing them onto the team.
Three Redskins players – left tackle Trent Williams, right guard Brandon Scherff and linebacker Ryan Kerrigan – were announced as Pro Bowlers for this season while linebacker Zach Brown and cornerback Josh Norman will be Pro Bowl alternates. Cousins showered praise on his teammates on Wednesday and explained why their elections were representative of the organization.
Check out these photos of the Redskins' offense preparing for their Week 16 game against the Denver Broncos Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park.
"It's just a great honor," he said. "It says a lot about not only this season but their body of work that they have put together for years now. It says a lot about our organization, the scouting staff, their ability to draft. Three of those players were drafted here and two of them were signed in free agency recently. So it really reflects good decisions by our entire organization bringing those guys in and developing them. Hopefully we continue to have people in the Pro Bowl discussion year in and year out."
In the case of Williams, who practically played on one leg for the majority of the year, Cousins said he expected him to be selected mostly because players know just how good of a player he is when healthy and the kind of precedent he's set for himself and others in his career.
"Whether he is a little banged up or not, he is going to get the votes and people are going to give him the respect he has earned and deserves," Cousins said. "I think it is a credit to that and you could also say the same for the others guys who are voted as well. People know what they can do regardless of their injuries."
4. The Redskins offense can't be dynamic with so few plays.
Against the Chargers, the Redskins offense was on the field for 50 snaps. Against the Cardinals, the offense played just 53 snaps. These aren't the kinds of totals that will score many points and Cousins pointed directly to the team's inability to convert a decent portion of third downs as a reason.
"You look at seven of the nine third downs were very makeable and we only made one of them," Cousins said. "I think those are the plays I feel like we or I left on the field. Outside of that, not a ton but I go back to third downs as the ones that probably caused us to not have as explosive of a day as we would have wanted to have."
Because of stunted drives, the offense has only scored three touchdowns – one of which came on a drive starting at the six-yard line – in those two games and Cousins is aware of how that's affected the team and put the burden on the defense.
"Think about having double the production on offense that we had on Sunday as well and that makes for a pretty productive day," Cousins said. "We said after the Chargers game, 'If we are going to run 51 plays, it's going to be hard to have a dynamic day on offense, period, even if you are playing well.' Then we had a similar day against Arizona. Fortunately we got the win, but we have got to find a way to get more plays."
5. The Redskins have off on Christmas day, which means Cousins will get to debut his matching pajamas with his wife and son.
The good part about playing a football game on Christmas eve, specifically if you win, is that the next day, Christmas day, can be spent with family.
For the Cousins family, this means the opportunity for Kirk to wear matching pajamas that his wife Julie has gotten for the whole family, which now includes his baby boy, Cooper.
"It'll be fun to have Cooper in his Christmas pajamas," Cousins said. "My wife got matching pajamas for the three of us and I will definitely be forced to wear those on Christmas Day [laughter], so we'll have a good time. I'm sure there will be a lot of family pictures and we'll be opening presents and doing the traditional things, so always looking forward to Christmas.
"No better Christmas gift than trying to get a win on Christmas Eve and go into Christmas Day feeling good about the job we did on Sunday," he added.