- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 26, 2016

ASHBURN — When Kirk Cousins reported for organized team activities last season, his situation was remarkably different than it is now. As he worked primarily with the backups, Cousins focused on doing what the coaches asked of him and steered clear of being too controlling. He understood his role as the backup to Robert Griffin III and didn’t want to overstep any boundaries.

After being named the starter before last season and leading Washington to a 9-7 record and the NFC East title, Cousins entered OTAs on Wednesday at Redskins Park in a far different predicament. It is undoubtedly his team now and the fifth-year quarterback is comfortable taking a more pronounced leadership role.

“Well you have permission now to take ownership,” Cousins said. “You know, as a backup or a guy competing for the spot, it doesn’t get received real well to try and take ownership. It looks like you are trying to jockey for the position and be one of those guys. So, you just try to you know, handle it the right way and now as a starter you really can take ownership and it feels like it did back in college when you were the starting quarterback and had the chance to really assert yourself. I enjoy being able to do that and I think it helps me as a quarterback to have ownership because at the end of the day, I am the one holding the football in my hands.”

Last season, Cousins threw for a franchise-record 4,166 yards along with 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Tight end Jordan Reed, who flourished in a breakout season, became Cousins‘ greatest asset as he hauled in 87 catches for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The Redskins continued to bolster the receiving corps in the offseason when they drafted TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson 22nd overall. Along with Pierre Garcons, DeSean Jackson, and second-year wide receiver Jamison Crowder, the Redskins are developing an abundance of options for Cousins.

Earlier this month, NFL Network analyst and former Redskins general manager Charley Casserly went as far to say Washington has the league’s best four-receiver package with Reed, Garcon, Jackson and Doctson. That said, Cousins isn’t buying into the hype, especially not in May when nothing has been proven yet.

“Potential doesn’t mean a whole lot, we want results,” Cousins said. “You can’t play until the fall, all you can do now is prepare. And it’s really exciting when you look at the list of guys, I know it’s been well documented how much talent there is. I’ll be the first one to say, we have a lot of talent, the receiver position, the tight end position, the running back position. It’s my job, and the quarterback’s job, to just get them the football and let them do the work, you know. Get the ball out of my hand and let them go make plays. It’s exciting to have that many talented players on your offense.”

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