- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

ASHBURN — Kirk Cousins‘ voice might not be the loudest in the Washington Redskins’ locker room, but that does not mean players are not following the fourth-year quarterback’s lead.

When coach Jay Gruden named Cousins the starter at the beginning of the season, it wasn’t as if the quarterback was suddenly going to morph into a vocal leader. Eleven games into the season, Cousins has let his diligent preparation and quest for perfection speaks for itself — and Gruden is fine with that.

“As quarterbacks go, I think everybody has their own different, unique personality,” Gruden said. “Kirk, he’s still finding his way. Obviously, it’s his team, and we all know that right now. He’s still in the process of learning, basically studying what he wants to do and how to play the position. But, the leadership stuff will come. I think everybody looks up to him, the type of kid that he is, how hard he works, but as far as being a vocal leader, that may or may not be his style yet.

“He may grow into that type of role, but there are great ways to lead. You don’t have to be a vocal leader or yell at people to lead. I think if you lead by example, by your work ethic and holding people to high standards, he’s in good shape. He’s doing a good job of that.”

When the Redskins acquired free safety Dashon Goldson in the offseason, they knew the nine-year veteran had a reputation as a strong leader. It was hardly a surprise when, after Sunday’s 20-14 win over the New York Giants, Goldson revealed he called a players-only meeting Saturday night at the team hotel.

During that meeting, which Goldson said was an open forum for players to air their grievances, several messages were delivered. One was simply for the players to believe in themselves, that they had the talent to overcome the up-and-down performances this season. The other was for Cousins to be more vocal as the leader of the offense.

Whether Cousins eventually grows into that role as he gets more comfortable, Gruden doesn’t care, as long as he continues to produce.

“I don’t really pay attention to the ‘hoorah stuff’ in the locker room and the pregame speeches and all that stuff,” Gruden said. “I care about the production and teaching what we want to teach them. That other stuff comes naturally to players, and they all look up to Kirk, and they all look up to Dashon. We have good, strong core leadership in this locker room. Who’s the most vocal? Who’s the biggest leader? I don’t know. I just know that they’re all doing a good job down there and they’re all rallying around each other, which is important.”

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