September 20, 2019

Washington Redskins: Gruden talks Cousins, leadership, and more following Bills win

Coming off of the Washington Redskins first back-to-back victories in over a year on top of their first win against an AFC East opponent since 2007, head coach Jay Gruden was very complimentary of his team. After discussing the possibly worrisome injury situation, the second year head man discussed what he thought of Kirk Cousins‘ performance and how players like Trent Williams provide valuable leadership.

Jay Gruden had a conversation with Kirk Cousins after the Skins fell to 2-4 on the year because of a frustrating loss to the New York Jets. In the eight games since then, Cousins has thrown for 16 touchdowns, just three interceptions, and 2,205 yards. If extrapolated out over a 16-game season, anybody in the league could argue that a quarterback that throws for over four thousands yards and thirty touchdowns to just six turnovers through the air is of upper-echelon talent.

Cousins vs. Bills

(Photo by: @Redskins)

Gruden points to Cousins natural improvement through game experience and first string reps in practice as the catalyst. Washington’s head coach “showed him [Cousins] the success of” Tom Brady in his way of managing games by “letting his players do the work for him.” Cousins spoke to similar themes after the Bills game on Sunday that he is allowing his receivers to make him look good.

After just recently picking up their first road victory and subsequently completing back-to-back victories, Gruden knows that the team will have to put it all together. Washington would also have to break their 4-19 record in primetime games when facing the Eagles on the road Saturday night. For Cousins to have success, Gruden believes the offense simply needs to be balanced. As long as Cousins has time to get through his progressions and can use “play-actions, the nakeds [boot legs], the keepers” effectively, given a decent running game, things should be smooth for the Washington offense.

Gruden called Trent Williams’ leadership and work ethic “important”, especially because of the way that the young core of Spencer Long, Brandon Scherff, and Morgan Moses “look up to him”. The Silver Back’s presence will also help with the “team in a position to possibly win the division this late.” Gruden also appreacitates the “great hold of the locker room” that his veterans, including Williams, have. Gruden will preach poise and effort to his players who probably have not been a part of “a Saturday night game on the road at Philadelphia for possibly a division title.”

“When you’re the best player on the football team and you’re also working that hard, you earn a lot of respect from each guy — from everybody.” – Gruden on his Pro Bowl caliber left tackle

Even with the mistakes of Matt Jones and Jamison Crowder, on a false start and muffed punt respectively, Gruden understand that rookies make mistakes as everyone does. Coach likes that they work hard and have done a relatively good job over the course of the year.

“I just think it brought everybody together” said Gruden, reflecting on the fight during a joint-practice with the Houston Texans in the middle of training camp.

“It was pretty neat to see everybody just run to each other’s back and have each other’s back and get in the scrum, watch Pierre [Garçon] in there battling with J.J. [Watt] and all these guys come to each other’s rescue. It was a good team building exercise; you know, some teams like to go bowling, we like to have all-out brawls with the Houston Texans [laughter].”

With the shortened week, Washington will hold walkthroughs on Tuesday and Friday that sandwich “two good days of practice” on Wednesday and Thursday.

About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

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