The Redskins (2-2) emerge from the bye to play San Francisco (0-5) Sunday, pitting Washington’s current head coach, Jay Gruden, against its former coordinator, current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.
Kirk Cousins, the second quarterback drafted by then-Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan in 2012, was never meant to be a long-term solution in Washington, he tells Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier during his weekly segment Tuesday — ‘Under Center,’ driven by the Lindsay Automotive Group.
Although, it worked out that way. Sort of.
What was your most memorable moment from your days with Kyle Shanahan as your offensive coordinator? — Nick Wagner
“There’s so many different conversations I’ve had with him throughout the years that I look back now and feel like, at the time maybe I didn’t think much of it,” Cousins said, “but now, looking back, realize it had a big impact on my development.”
Cousins was selected in the fourth round out of Michigan State. Only problem was, the Redskins had already selected Robert Griffin III second overall, so Cousins’ prospects for seeing the field were bleak from the get-go.
A day or so after the draft, Cousins was throwing at a local field in his hometown of Holland, Michigan, when he received a call from Kyle Shanahan.
“He was just introducing himself,” Cousins recalled. “I remember the first thing he said was, ‘My goal is to develop you and help you play well enough that someday we can trade you.'”
“And that was kind of the vision all along,” he said. “We didn’t draft you to not help the team or to sit on the bench, but at the same time, we don’t really want you to play. We want you to sit on the bench and hopefully play well enough in the preseason to get an opportunity.”
Kyle Shanahan compared Cousins’ situation to one of his previous pupils, Matt Schaub in Houston.
“That’s exactly what had happened to Matt Schaub’s career,” Cousins retold the conversation. “He was a backup to Michael Vick and played really well in preseason games in limited opportunities, and then had a chance to get traded, and then has had a great career in Houston.”
“So [Kyle] said, ‘Don’t see this is a discouraging situation or a disappointment.’ He said, ‘I worked with a guy who had a very similar situation and had a lot of success. That’s our goal for you and I think you’ve got good days ahead.’
“From Day 1, when I first got the call that I was picked, I was a little bit disappointed, or a little bit discouraged, feeling like it was a dead-end,” Cousins said. “But immediately, Kyle painted a picture that, ‘Hey, there’s a great opportunity here and we’re excited to have you.’
“From that day on, he really communicated belief and gave me a lot of reason to be excited, and I look back now and I’m very grateful that I ended up in Washington and have been able to be here for six years.”