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Teammates Ready To See Kirk Cousins Lead

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Officially the team's starting quarterback moving forward, teammates see passion, competitiveness and improvement in Kirk Cousins heading into the 2015 season.

Terrance Knighton has seen first-hand the type of passion Kirk Cousins brings to the table.

This was evident this offseason during Organized Training Activities, through training camp and now the preseason.

Take Redskins Fan Day in Loudoun County, Va., on Aug. 23, when Cousins, a four-year veteran, backpedaled out of pressure to loft a pass right into the hands of Jamison Crowder for a touchdown.

The Michigan State product let out a passionate scream in response to the connection, ran over to Crowder and then even jumped onto head coach Jay Gruden's back.

"You know he's a fiery guy, he's a very competitive guy in practice, he's going at the defense," Knighton said of Cousins Monday afternoon. "Coach Gruden made a decision, he addressed the team today and me being the leader, my job is to make sure this locker room stays unified and we ignore all the stuff on the outside.

One knock on Cousins during his first three seasons with the Redskins was his tendency to throw interceptions, sometimes while trying to force passes into tight windows.

He's certainly not afraid to test defenses, but linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said he's seen Cousins remain aggressive in the pass game this offseason and preseason while making better selections when deciding his targets.

"He's just a guy who has gotten better every year and a guy who, like all of our quarterbacks, takes practice very seriously," Kerrigan said. "You know, when Kirk has been a scout team quarterback in the past, he treats that like he's been preparing for the game and I think that's not only made us better defensively, but it's made him better as well. "

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

Kerrigan also said that when everything is clicking for Cousins and his confidence is high, "he's a tough guy to stop."

Veteran defensive lineman Kedric Golston, who is entering his 10th season in Washington, has played with several quarterbacks ranging from Mark Brunnell to Jason Campbell to Robert Griffin III and now Cousins.

He said regardless of who is manning the huddle for the offense, camaraderie and accountability on both sides of the ball are key to any successful football team.

"We were going to support whoever the starter was and all those guys – no matter if you're a starter, backup, or no matter what your role is you're part of the team," he said. "So the coaches made that decision and it's up to us to first take care of our own responsibilities on the defensive side of the ball, and just do what we need to do to win football games."

At the end of the day, Cousins will now be central to the offense's production. If he is able to produce from the quarterback position, the defense continues to generate turnovers and limit the run and the special teams put points on the board, then the Redskins will be in a good position to rebound from two tough seasons.

"It just means that we have to go out there, continue to play good football," defensive lineman Chris Baker said. "Because no matter who is at the quarterback position, if we're not winning, there's always going to be something bad to say. We just have to go out there and compete each play. Us as a defense, we have to be able to stop people and get the ball back for our offense so our offense can do what they do."

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