Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden was asked if the team’s game plan will change with Kirk Cousins behind center instead of Robert Griffin III, out indefinitely with a dislocated ankle.
“No, no. Our game plan will be our game plan,” Gruden said. “Nothing is going to change really whatsoever. If we see that we can run the ball, you’re going to try to run the ball every week, no question about it. There’s nothing that’ll change with Kirk at quarterback and these guys have practiced all our plays from Day 1 like I said when I first got here. They’ve both handled it very well – Colt [McCoy] included – all three of them. There’s not going to be a lot of change moving forward with Kirk.”
Gruden spoke about what the team needs to do around Cousins, “Yeah, we’ve got to help him. People around him have got to step up, not just Kirk. Our running game has got to step up, our linemen have got to do a better job in pass protection and opening up holes for our backs. Our receivers have got to do great things after the catch. And then of course, our defense needs to continue to play well and get the ball for us in good field position.
If we think we’re going to play from behind, it’s going to be hard on any quarterback, but I think we all realized what a team game this is yesterday. Our special teams was pretty good, our defense was outstanding and our offense was good in the running and the passing game. We put those three phases together, we’re going to be a tough team to beat. As we learned in Houston, when we don’t do that, it’s very tough to win whoever the quarterback is.
I think it’s just important moving forward that we try not to make this about Robert when Robert was the quarterback. We’re going to try not to make this about Kirk now that Kirk is the quarterback. We’ve got to make it about the Redskins moving forward, and everybody needs to get involved and help us through this.”
Gruden spoke of Cousins’s assets as a quarterback. “Well, he’s a smart quarterback, and I think he can make every throw,” Gruden started. “He’s got a very strong arm, he can throw the deep balls as we saw yesterday, and he’s got good medium accuracy and touch and obviously he has got short accuracy and touch. The big thing for him is playing – handling the pass rush, handling the blitzes and the protections, which he hasn’t had a whole lot of reps at. And that will be the difference in him being a very, very effective quarterback in the coming week.
So, we’ve got to just get him ready from a mental standpoint, but from a physical standpoint, he’s got the tools to make all the throws. I know the team has confidence in all our quarterbacks and moving forward and he’s got a chance to be very successful.”
Gruden rated Cousins’s performance on Sunday: “Very impressed, I thought he had an outstanding game. He worked the tight ends, he got the receivers involved, he got the backs involved, made good sound decisions with the football, quick decisions and kept us in positive down and distances and moving the ball. Our running game was outstanding, also. I think we had 190 yards rushing which also helps.
Then of course the field position the defense got us and special teams was also outstanding. So we were able to keep Jacksonville on their heels with the run, the play pass and the drop-back pass. It was a great day and both quarterbacks did well when they were in there.”
On whether the Redskins will bring in a new third-string quarterback, Gruden said, “We may. We haven’t decided that yet. And, you know, Colt is a very capable backup, as we know. He started some in the NFL, so we’ll address that at a later time, whether or not we bring a third guy in for practice squad.”
Asked what would have happened if Cousins also got injured Sunday with McCoy designated as inactive, Gruden answered, “Andre Roberts was going to go back there in the shotgun and hand it off or run it.”