WASHINGTON — Wednesday’s preseason finale brought a chance for Redskins starters to view their team through a different lens: from a television.
The coaching staff elected to leave 25 men behind in Ashburn while the rest of the roster battled the Buccaneers in a state of emergency down in Tampa, so the starters watched together from a restaurant as their brethren fought in their rain-soaked burgundy jerseys.
“It was a unique feeling,” Kirk Cousins told 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier Friday. “I don’t think since I was drafted that I’ve watched a Redskins game on television, so that was a strange place to be.”
“During warm-ups, when we were watching the rain just pouring down on the guys as they’re getting loose,” he said, “I looked over at Vernon Davis and I just said, ‘Vern, I feel entitled. I mean I’m sitting here in an air-conditioned room ordering steak, and I just feel like I should be there, you know. I’m part of the team and yet I’m here.’
“He was laughing. He’s like, ‘Hey, it was the head coach’s decision and we got our work in today.’ It was a different feeling but so glad to see the team operate so well in those elements, you know they took care of the football, I felt commandingly won the game. Kind of just took control of it from the start. It was good to see. So now we look forward to Week 1 and glad to put the preseason behind us. I feel like we have a good foundation now going into the games that count.”
“I was worried about being a little too loud for the restaurant,” Cousins recalled, “because we did have our own room, but every big run, every sack, every tipped ball, interception — whatever it may be — the blocked punt for a touchdown, we’re jumping up and down yelling, high-fiving each other, cheering guys on. I’m trying to call out the plays before they were run to see if I have a good feel for the game plan.”
Third-string QB Nate Sudfeld, Washington’s sixth-round pick out of Indiana, ran point on a ground attack that netted 245 yards, 149 from Mack Brown and 99 from Robert Kelley, while also contributing 72 yards through the air on eight-of-18 passing (44 percent efficiency) with one touchdown.
Washington won the game 20-13, but had taken a commanding 20-3 lead through the first three quarters.
“We were pretty vocal and pretty excited and into it because the guys played so well,” Cousins said. “And really, like I said, kind of had good command from the start of the game on, it made it fun to watch and you just felt like a proud older brother watching. It’s so good to see those guys make plays.
“It was a shame the elements were what they were because, no rain but better weather, you’d have the chance for these guys who are really on the outside make some plays and get some touches, so that was a shame they couldn’t do that. Guys made a statement and hopefully they’ll get a good shot here with our team or with someone else.”
Despite himself only playing in Washington’s first and third preseason games — less than three quarters in total — Cousins insists he’s actually more prepared than he’s ever been for a regular season.
“I think we did get a lot of work in. I think the other thing to consider that people maybe don’t consider is just how many reps I’ve gotten in practice,” Cousins said. “I feel far more prepared for the regular season this preseason than I ever did in past preseasons, when I played more in games, because of all those practices in Richmond, all those practices going back to May and June. I was getting so many more reps and I feel that foundation is much, much stronger than it would have been in previous seasons as a backup.”
“I do feel ready to go, feel well prepared and we still have what feels like an eternity,” he said. “I mean I feel like the game is coming close and yet it’s still over a week away. We still have a lot of time, still have a lot of practice reps to get before the Steelers game and I think we’ll all be ready to go and just chomping at the bit to get a chance in that game.”
Cousins also addressed a gift he received this week from the San Antonio Spurs, a team whose boringness he hopes the Redskins can model themselves after. They gave Cousins a custom Spurs jersey with his last name on the back.
“We made that comment a few weeks ago at the press conference just kind of off the cuff and the Spurs, for whatever reason, just sent us a jersey and so I wanted to say thanks and definitely appreciate that,” he said. “I’ve been to far more Wizards games, and I grew up a Bulls fans, and my brother actually worked for four years for the Orlando Magic so I’ve got all kinds of connections to the NBA outside of just the Spurs.”
“It’s fun to just kind of have an example to shoot for and I think just the standard of excellence they’ve been I think would be the equivalent in the NFL of going 12-4 year after year after year and just never having that 4-12 season over two decades,” he said. “So I really respect that and certainly that’s the goal I think for our team. In the next two decades, that’s what I think all of us want to be.”
“Like I said, I guess the Spurs are the example to shoot for more than being a huge fan of them,” he clarified. “But I definitely respect what they’ve done. Let’s get the Wizards up to that level, too. Would love to get behind that as well.”