Cousins finds lessons in superb preseason outing

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Backup quarterback Kirk Cousins had a fabulous game against Chicago Saturday night. Against reserves in the second half, he was 18-of-23 passing for 264 yards and three touchdowns, good for a passer rating of 154.1.

“I think I gained some confidence…but you go back and you watch the film realizing it’s never quite as good as you think it is,” Cousins said Monday. “Although it’s human nature to pat yourself on the back, I want to make sure that I stay humble and stay hungry because that’s what’s going to keep me in this league.

“There were some footwork things I’d like to change; some plays that maybe I got away with; some different reads that, sure, they worked on Saturday night but in the long haul if you keep doing that you’ll die by it more than you’ll live by it.”

Cousins’ unflappable pocket presence was a major reason for his performance. His confidence also grew as the game progressed. As it turns out, though, that led to some constructive criticism from coaches in a roundabout way.

From the Redskins’ 22-yard line in the fourth quarter, Cousins completed a 21-yard pass to receiver Aldrick Robinson on the left sideline. The throw was incredible. Cousins placed a perfect ball in to Robinson between a cornerback underneath and a safety over the top. For a rookie to make such a throw was beyond impressive.

It received mixed reviews, though.

“Just was playing off of feel and instincts,” Cousins said. “[Coaches] said, ‘Great throw, tremendous job, big gain. But your read would tell you to go elsewhere. We can’t coach you to do that, so the fact that you can do that is a plus-one, but in the long run stick to your reads.’

“So little things like that where I understand, OK, you got a way with it there, you made a good play, but understand that if you continue to do that, you’re going to hurt yourself more often than you help yourself.”

Looking back, Cousins attempted that throw because he was feeling it, kind of like a 3-point shooter who makes his first few attempts and gets hot.

“I think it’s probably a throw you do try later in the game as opposed to when you first get in there and you’re just trying to get a completion,” Cousins said. “As you just start to feel better and get more confident, that’s the kind of throw you try to make. I’m learning. I’m growing. We got coaches whose full time job is to tell me all the things I’m doing wrong, so it doesn’t happen again. That’s what they’re doing and I’m learning from it.”

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