Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins says he hasn’t felt any hangover effect since taking a vicious hit to the back in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 20-15 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
“I’m feeling fine. The hit was kind of an initial shock to the system, but then kind of got to the sidelines and it pretty much wore off, and by the next series I was feeling fine,” Cousins said during weekly radio segment — ‘Under Center,’ driven by the Lindsay Automotive Group — with Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on Monday.
Late in the fourth quarter, Cardinals pass-rusher Chandler Jones got a wide-open shot on Cousins’ back as the quarterback unleashed a pass. Cousins was slow to get up and received medical attention on the sidelines after the drive. Afterwards, he said he felt like he dodged a bullet.
“You always wait for that hangover effect, if that night or the next day you feel it, but I really am not feeling anything,” he said. “So that’s a good report. The hits have added up this year. It’s been a tougher year from that standpoint. I guess part of the deal when you lose some offensive linemen, when you have a bit of a revolving door at some different positions, but part of the game, part of playing the position, and you try to take pride in standing in there and getting hit and getting back up, and you know that’s a big part of this game and this position.”
“I would say that in the position I’m in, the team has made a great investment in me, and the best way that I can provide a return on investment is to be out there and to be healthy,” he said.
“So, first and foremost, before trying to play at a really high level, I’ve got to take care of my body and work really hard so that every single Sunday I can go out there to the best of my ability. That’s the first step in trying to provide a return on investment for this team.”
Asked if it’s ever crossed his mind, playing on a series of one-year deals, that one hit like that, if it’s in a different spot on his back, could change his entire future, Cousins shared a helpful piece advice he received from a cross-town athlete.
“I definitely think about injury and the risk, and every one of us takes a huge risk every time we step out there,” said Cousins. “But I’ve always made the decision to get that insurance policy and protect myself, so if anything did happen, I basically can be compensated as if I was still playing.
“That was actually a tip I got from Max Scherzer, because I reached out to him. He was in a similar position in his career and he said the minute I made that decision to get that insurance policy, once I could step across the white lines, all I had to focus on was winning. And that’s the position I’m in, as I can go out there and just focus on winning football games because of what the insurance policy does for me.”
Scherzer, now with the Nationals, famously took out a $40-million insurance policy for injury — at a cost of approx. $750,000 — prior to hitting free agency following the 2014 MLB season. Then with the Tigers, Scherzer went on to sign a seven-year, $210 million contract with Washington.
“It’s no cheap insurance,” Cousins joked. “But it’s well worth it in the sense that you can’t put a price on peace of mind. Certain situations in your career, maybe not every year, but certain situations, it makes sense. I did the research this past offseason, that last two offseasons.”
“It goes back a while back, several months ago, last winter,” he explained. “You know, I knew Max’s story coming out. When he was in Detroit, I was in Michigan — I was playing college ball when he was there and I understood what happened there in Detroit and the decision he made. And so I just asked him, ‘How did you process that? How did you handle that?’
“He’s a wealth of knowledge and was really helpful and explained to me what he did. I kind of a took a similar approach and I think it’s a good decision to have peace of mind. His point was, ‘When I pitched for the Tigers, I just focused on winning baseball games. That’s all I had to worry about because of that.’ And I think that was the key and that’s why you get it.”
“Yeah, if something happens and your career is over, then you would collect,” he said. “But if your career’s not over and you can keep playing, then you don’t collect. So you basically would like to think that, one way or another, either playing football or sitting at home on your couch injured, you’re able to be in a position to be just fine.”
SNIDER: Did Gruden Just Keep His Job?
Redskins coach Jay Gruden was perceived to be on the hot seat heading into Sunday’s game. After coming away with a victory, that pressure, it seems, has been averted. At least for the time being. Cousins was asked what he thinks about fans and media calling for people’s jobs mid-season.
“Oh, I think that the body of work, when you look at what’s taken place over the last several years, it would be foolish to try to look at a week or two weeks and try to make a decision on anybody in this organization,” Cousins said. “Continuity’s a big part of football, and I think that trying to build continuity and create continuity is important.”
“You look at teams that are successful year in and year out, it’s kind of a chicken-or-the-egg — which comes first?” he said. “But the teams that are successful then have continuity, they have the same head coach, they have the same quarterback, they have a lot of the same star players year in and year out, and there’s some key positions that aren’t changing over and over.
“And I think to get to that level and be a consistent winner, you also have to create that continuity and that’s important. I’d like to think that a win can always calm down people’s overreactions, but it only usually buys you about six days. And you’ve got another date at FedEx Field next Sunday and people will be free to overreact in either direction based on the result. We know that in this business, it only buys you about six days, and that’s okay.”
“And we’ll do all we can and try to put a good product on the field,” he said. “And then at the end of the season, that’s when you kind of look back and take stock of the whole picture and see where you’re at as an organization.”
This may be one of the worst rules in sports: 99 yards of the field, a fumble is one thing; if it goes out of bounds, it reverts to the team that fumbled; but if you fumble near the end zone, it’s the most egregious penalty possible. It’s a turnover and the other team gets 30 yards of field position. — Adam in Washington, D.C.
“Yeah, no. We lived into the benefit of that last year when I threw an interception against the Ravens, and we ended up gaining like eight yards on my interception, and it’s really unbelievable how that worked out,” Cousins said. “My high school friend texted me after the game: ‘Really smart play by you there, Kirk, to gain eight yards throwing it to the other team.’
“Yeah, it’s a strange deal. Obviously the nature of the play is such that that’s the way the game works, but that’s where coaching and situational awareness is so important. When people talk to me in the offseason, ‘What are you working on in your game?’ I say situational awareness.”
“To know that, hey, we just got the first down. It’s third-and-3. I just crossed the first-down marker, so now we’re gonna have first-and-goal,” he explained. “There’s like 30 seconds left on the clock, so we have plenty of time to run for a few plays. Factor in how many timeouts you have. There’s just not the same necessity to reach for the front pylon as there is with no timeouts left, fourth-and-goal. Different situation, now that play is smart, because that’s the only option he has. So the play itself is not wrong if it’s in the right situation.”
Derek Carr and the Raiders were on the wrong end of this situation in a last-minute loss to Dallas on Sunday Night football.
“But in that situation, you’re gonna have first-and-goal at the 1-yard-line if you just give up and go out at the one,” Cousins explained. “So that’s where you always have to be aware of timeouts, clock, down-and-distance and where we are on the field, and all those things affect how you play each individual play.”
“That was a tough one, too, to see,” he added. “This game will test you week in and week out, man. It’s an absolute grind. Everyone wakes up in Oakland disappointed, and everyone wakes up in Dallas happy, and the difference is literally half of one play that changes the whole thing. And so that’s why we can’t overreact too much when we’re in it. We just have to keep going and try to learn from it.”