Last Friday at Jammin’ Java, I was on-hand as 200 Redskins fans hung on every word Kirk Cousins spoke.
I was given free roam of the place (perks of working here, ya know) and wanted to share three extra stories you could not have gotten from the on-air portion, or even if you were in the building. Consider this your behind-the-scenes pass.
1. In one of the commercial breaks, I went on stage and talked to Kirk about the Giants game. He said on the air it was one of, if not the single-worst game he’s played in his NFL career. He was objectively awful. Given that it was the last game of the season and he didn’t need tape to tell him he was objectively awful, I was curious if he’d even bothered to watch the tape.
“Yeah,” Cousins told me, “I had to to get it out of my system.” We talked specifically about some of the issues the Giants’ pressure caused the Redskins offense, including his three interceptions. Cousins said the Giants are a boom-or-bust team with their pressure packages, and he didn’t do a good job getting his team into the right protections, meaning there were a lot more booms than busts.
That was interesting because, typically, Cousins is fantastic at seeing through disguises and figuring out the right protections. He was bad at it on New Year’s Eve and it cost the Redskins dearly.
2. Among the reasons Cousins gave for wanting to stay in Washington was a close relationship with trainer Pat McCloskey. They live close to each other and McCloskey works with Cousins twice per week during the season to keep him strong and healthy. He’s never missed a start since being named the full-time starter, so clearly it’s working.
Because of my own fitness background, this obviously piqued my interest, but there was more to what Cousins said on the air. His training is just a part of the equation. I was sitting next to Julie Cousins as Kirk was talking about McCloskey, and she said to me, “I’m so glad he’s talking about this.”
Keeping an NFL player upright is a team effort, and the player’s wife is probably just as important as his trainer. While Julie was happy to see the trainer get some love, I’ll ensure she also gets her shine.
Kirk’s diet is extraordinarily specific after taking a food allergy test to find out which foods suit his body best. Julie is the one who has to take those lab results to the table. She’s also been largely responsible for all of the responsibilities that come with a newborn after giving birth to the couple’s first child, Cooper, in the fall. Kirk has maintained his uber-strict sleep schedule in his hyperbaric chamber. He spent long hours at the facility. Kirk has said that his and her parents have occasionally been able to chip in, but Julie has carried the brunt of the load, something Kirk has publicly acknowledged and appreciates.
The final, fun (and related) Julie tidbit – as fans constantly told Cousins how much they appreciated him, I turned to her and said, “I guess it’s your job to keep him humble?!” She laughed, as Cousins is famously not impressed with himself, and said it’s even easier now with Cooper. Two words: “diaper duty.”
3. The last tidbit comes from the first commercial break. I went up to say hello to Cousins, who I hadn’t seen since the post-game press conference in New York. We exchanged pleasantries and before I could ask him about his off-season plans, he asked about mine.
“What are you doing now that the season is over,” the quarterback asked. “Well,” I said, “pretty much chasing you around.”
All he could do is nod and laugh, which is the same reaction Julie had when we had a similar conversation later. The reality is the most important aspect of my job between now and whenever his fate is decided is to stay current on what the latest is on that front. Does that change anything for Cousins? Of course not. He’s operating on his own timeline, as he should.
While all of us care about his decision for business or personal (fandom) reasons, it’s his actual life. He has to do something he is comfortable with and, hopefully sooner rather than later, he will.
Follow 106.7 The Fan’s Redskins reporter Craig Hoffman on Twitter.