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Next Two Games Key For Kirk Cousins' Role

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Against the Ravens and Jaguars in the final two preseason games, Kirk Cousins could earn the Redskins' second quarterback role or be slotted as the third player on the depth chart.

The next two weeks could be very important in Kirk Cousins' NFL career.

Entrenched in a highly competitive backup quarterback battle with Colt McCoy, Cousins could either earn the second spot, ensuring he'd suit up on regular season game days, or find himself running the third-team during practices and possibly being inactive once the games that count get underway.

Cousins, however, isn't showing any signs of fatigue from the stress of the competition.

"I love the fact that we have a chance to go through the entire week as a trial run, so when Week 1 rolls around, it's not the first time we've met, we've been there before," Cousins said. "We really don't want to be going through it for the first time. It is a trial run in that sense. It's a good way to work out kinks and fine tune so come week one, we have a really good week of preparation and a good performance."

The Michigan State product has facilitated four scoring drives this preseason including a passing touchdown to Rashad Ross and a rushing touchdown of his own.

He's also 20-for-26 for 245 yards with a passer rating of 118.3.

One key to his performances has been limiting turnovers, which was a concerning facet of his game last season.

"He's improved on the turnover issue very much so through OTAs and training camp and preseason games," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said of Cousins. "We're impressed with the progress that Kirk has made very much. He's done a great job."

Gruden said Cousins will be the second quarterback this week against Baltimore and will likely play through the third quarter.

Playing against a pass rush capable of getting to the quarterback on any given play, Cousins knows he may have to operate out of the pocket, too, on Saturday in Baltimore.

"They're very good at pass rushing [and] in the NFL you've got to make plays with a tough pocket," he said. "The guys who do that at a high level are the stars and the guys who don't are no longer in the league. It is a point of emphasis for every quarterback in this league and I'm excited to just keep working [pocket awareness], keep drilling it. Coach Cavanaugh and Coach McVay have done a great job to keep coaching us through that development. Like I said, another chance Saturday night to show what we can do."

A countdown of the Top 10 images of Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins during the 2014 season.

The first roster cutdown date to 75 players is Tuesday at 4 p.m. while the final 53-man roster decision has to be made by 4 p.m. on Sept. 5.

If the Redskins go with their formular from last season, they will keep all three quarterbacks on the roster during the regular season, but ideally, Cousins would like to be the team's second quarterback moving forward.

"I care what my role is on this team," he said. "I'm excited for an opportunity to continue to compete and let Jay make the decision. I think both Colt and I want to make him say, 'Boy, I'm excited for whoever has to go in and play because both these guys have played really, really well.' I feel like both of us have done that to this point."

Along with Saturday's game, the preseason finale Sept. 3 vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars at FedExField will be "a great opportunity" for both Cousins and McCoy as they'll likely split reps throughout the game. The decision as to who will be the second quarterback will be made after that.

"Those two guys, I can't speak highly enough of both of them, their competition and their willingness to get better," Gruden said. "And their professionalism as far as doing what they're supposed to do and learning and getting better."

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