Gruden: Cousins handling backup role 'like a pro'

Gruden: Cousins handling backup role 'like a pro'
August 15, 2014, 2:45 pm
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For a time this offseason, it appeared as though Kirk Cousins could be dealt to a team looking for a starting quarterback. That trade, however, never materialized.

As disappointing as it may have been for the Redskins’ backup, Cousins has never allowed his feelings to show. And for that, Coach Jay Gruden is appreciative.

“He’s done great,” Gruden said. “Kirk’s handled it like a pro. He understands the situation here, competing and battling every day. And that’s what a quarterback does. Whether you’re a starter or not, you have to take advantage of the reps you get. They are few and far between sometimes, but I think he’s done an excellent job.”

Last week, an out-of-town reporter wrote that he believed Cousins had been the better signal caller during the joint practices with the Patriots. A day later, Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay squashed the controversy before it could gain any traction when he told reporters emphatically, “Robert’s our starting quarterback.”

Gruden reiterated on Friday that there’s no controversy or tension in the quarterbacks’ meeting room.  

“[Cousins] and Colt [McCoy] both have been great in the quarterback room,” Gruden said. “There’s been no controversy whatsoever. It’s just been business as usual. They’re all trying to get better and master this system. [Cousins] will be ready when his time comes.”

One reason Gruden is confident he’ll indeed be ready when his number gets called: Cousins’ tireless work ethic. Friday, in fact, provided a good example of that trademark diligence.

Practice had been over for more than 20 minutes, but there was Cousins on the field at Redskins Park, hurling passes to injured wide receiver Leonard Hankerson.

For Hankerson, the session was about rehabbing his surgically repaired knee. For Cousins, it was about staying sharp—just in case.

“He’s a good quarterback and you don’t want to let quarterbacks out of your building if you don’t have to,” Gruden said, asked about the decision to not deal Cousins. “Obviously, there’s circumstances that could change that, but right now we’re happy with the quarterbacks that we have and there’s no reason to change.”

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