WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – It can’t be easy for a guy like Redskins interim 1st-string quarterback Kirk Cousins to step back into RGIII’s shadow, immediately after the performance he had in the Redskins preseason game against the Titans last week, and to a greater extent, in games against the Browns and Ravens in last year’s regular season.
Cousins threw with the poise and confidence of a No. 1, in limited action in Tennessee, completing six of seven passes for 52 yards and a touchdown, while earning a 137.2 passer rating through two series, once again proving his capabilities as a starter.
He must have been shocked when Washington picked him up in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft, after already selecting Griffin, all but sealing his fate as a backup for his rookie season. Sure, he’d get to come in and fill RGIII’s very big shoes when he’d go down, but he’d also have to go home after and watch ESPN highlights of fellow rookies Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, and Ryan Tannehill, all handed the keys to the car from Week 1.
But Cousins has kept the right perspective, maintaining in an interview with 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen that he’s in no rush to become a starter, seemingly making the most of his limited opportunities and showcasing himself for teams across the league as a guy worthy of a starting role.
“I just have to re-frame my focus, and have the long view in mind and understand that the chance to be a starter doesn’t have to happen today,” Cousins told Paulsen in Richmond on Monday. “It can happen in three, four, five years and I hope to still be playing in the league at the time, and if it happens then, great.”
“I’m not in a rush to be starter,” he said. “I’m in a rush to get better and I’m in a rush to make the most of my opportunities at practice and in games, but I don’t have to be in the limelight right now and I’m okay in the background.”
Cousins takes the approach that the backup role allows him the time to learn as much as possible, which will only serve to his benefit when he does finally get his shot to start somewhere, wherever that may be.
“There’s no doubt I’ve become a much better quarterback than I was one year ago, and I think it’s a good thing that I had a chance to sit back and not get thrown to the wolves,” he told Paulsen. “And as much as Robert, Russell, and Andrew and Brian did a great job starting in their rookie years, I was able to sit back and just watch and learn and develop, and hopefully if I did become a starter somewhere some day, I would be much more prepared than I would have been my rookie year.”
Cousins, while incredibly composed and mature for a 24-year-old, is still human.
“You said it Grant, I’ve got a great opportunity here and certainly having to take a backseat a little bit can be tough, but I’m staying patient,” Cousins said.
Only time will tell whether Kirk Cousins is a viable NFL starting quarterback. One thing everyone can agree on however; when the time does come, he’ll certainly be worthy of the opportunity.