- The Washington Times - Friday, August 11, 2017

BALTIMORE — Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins called Thursday’s 23-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens “a wake-up call” and said Washington had a long ways to go after previously feeling confident in practice.

Cousins appeared in only two drives and six plays — which resulted in two three-and-outs for the offense. He went 1-of-2 for five yards and the offense was stalled each time by the Ravens‘ pressure on defense.

“It was a wake-up call,” Cousins said. “It showed us, as much as we might have been making some plays in training camp in Richmond and feeling good about what we were doing, I think it’s a realization that we have a long ways to go. I think that can be a good thing in the long run. I think it could be a good thing to have that wake up call. It could be the best thing we need right now.”

Cousins was sacked for an eight-yard loss on third down at Washington’s 19-yard line on the Redskins’ first series. He opened the game with a mistimed pass attempt to wide receiver Terrelle Pryor.

On the next series, Cousins was chased in the end zone and dumped it off to running back Robert Kelley for a five-yard gain on second down.

Appearing in just six plays can be hard for an offense to get in rhythm, but Cousins said a key to winning games is to start fast and they didn’t start fast enough Thursday.

“We talked about in Richmond a few days ago that we see different coverages and different blitzes and different fronts from defenses other than the ones we’re going against everyday in practice,” Cousins said. “That was true tonight. We saw a lot more man coverage, a couple of pick stunts and pressures. As you can see, it gave us a challenge.”

Teams don’t often scheme around opponents’ coverages in the preseason and hold back from calling plays they’d run in the regular season. Still, Cousins said the object is to put a quality product on the field.

Cousins, though, didn’t sound panicked in his comments. He pointed to specific needs, such as preparing better against man coverages and adjusting protection at the line of scrimmage.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden said his intent was to leave the starting offense in for six plays. If they stunk up the joint, so be it.

“We didn’t play very well,” Gruden said. “Obviously, we had two drives with our ones and two three-and-outs weren’t good enough. To start, not a good start. We got out there, did some pregame warm-up, came out of the tunnel, got six plays. We just have to get better.”

Cousins said this weekend’s practices will be that much better as a result of the game against the Ravens. The Redskins next play the Green Bay Packers on Aug. 19.

“In the long run, I think it’s a good thing,” Cousins said. “Obviously, we don’t want it to persist throughout the preseason. It needs to be fixed, but if it is fixed, we can point back to this night as one that probably helped us get going in the right direction.”

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