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5 Takeaways: Nov. 11 Kirk Cousins Presser


Here's five takeaways from Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins' Nov. 11 press conference at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.

1. It takes time to build a deep threat rapport between a quarterback and his wide receiver, but Cousins believes getting timing down with DeSean Jackson "doesn't take forever."

Making his return to the field on Sunday around fanfare and media focus, Jackson was quiet for a player with his big-time playmaking ability, as the three-time Pro Bowler was held to just three catches for 15 yards against the Patriots.

Yes, ideally Cousins would like to target Jackson more often, and he will against the Saints, but the Michigan State product doesn't believe their reconnection won't take all that long.

Remember, the two hooked up for a lot of big plays last season, including an 80-yard touchdown against his former teammates in Philadelphia and an impressive grab between members of the Seahawks' vaunted "Legion of Boom" secondary.

"I think we'll be ready to go," Cousins said. "What do you do? You just work. You practice, you go out there, you discuss routes after you have them and talk about what he saw in the coverage and what I saw and when I should be letting it go and where he wants the football thrown, all that. It's all the usual stuff that you go through, preparation, watching film and talking through routes. He looks really sharp, so I'm excited about it."

2. Cousins may also have a new man hiking him the ball under center.

The Redskins on Tuesday added seven-year veteran Brian de la Puente to the roster, an offensive lineman head coach Jay Gruden said is a "true center."

De la Puente has been with numerous teams during his NFL journey, but saw his most action with the Saints.

Joining his new teammates in preparation to face his old teammates this weekend, de la Puente could very well supplant Josh LeRibeus, a player moved from exclusively guard to center during the offseason, in the starting lineup.

"It's very, very important. It takes time," Cousins said of building chemistry in a short amount of time with de la Puente. "We're not going to be as far down the road this Sunday as we will be three Sundays from now. It takes time. I'm really impressed with Brian's recall and how quickly he is picking things up. His approach to the game and the way he is a professional I think will help him and help us as an offense to learn on the fly."

3. Cousins said finding a balance between being hard on teammates and motivating them through positive encouragement is a balance.

The Washington Redskins on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2015, announced the signing of center Brian de la Puente.

As the quarterback, Cousins is naturally one of the leaders on offense, if not the entire team.

There are going to be moments in which he may get frustrated with a player's response to a play and vice versa.

While Cousins has said before that he's not necessarily one of those vocal leaders of the Ray Lewis mold, he can get on teammates when needed.

"You have to walk that balance," Cousins said. "When anybody is in a leadership position leading people, you have to understand, 'OK, when do I light a fire under them and get on them a little bit? And when do I nurture them and walk them through it?' That's leadership and that's why they write millions of books about it because people want to find that balance and don't quite know how to."

Cousins added that as a leader, "you've got to have good relational moxie, understand how to relate to your teammates, how to relate to each guy individually and what they respond to."

"Like I said after the game, I think our receivers have great natural hands and they're professionals," Cousins said. "They certainly weren't trying to drop the football, so they'll be able to work through it and catch a lot of tough passes going forward."

4. The Redskins could be in attack mode against a porous Saints defense, which is particularly bad in stopping the pass.

New Orleans enters Sunday's game with one of the worst secondaries in the NFL statistically this season, and their woes have been exacerbated over the last two weeks.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw for 350 yards and six touchdowns to zero interceptions in a shootout on Nov. 1, and last week Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota threw for 371 yards and four touchdowns to zero interceptions.

But their struggles have been season-long, as Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer, for example, threw for 307 yards and three touchdowns to zero interceptions on Opening Day.

Knowing very well that the Saints haven't been able to stop many passing attacks, the Redskins may try to be more aggressive than usual on offense.

But they must remain smart in their approach.

"I think there will be chances to read the coverage out and see where we can throw the football," Cousins said. "I think a shot called is not always a shot taken. You've got to be able to see it clearly. Every team is going to call their shots and it's a matter of decision-making-wise on my part and then throwing the ball with accuracy to give the guy a chance to make the play. Sometimes some of our shot calls can end up being four-yard completions to the tailback because it just wasn't there."

5. Cousins has the "utmost respect" for Drew Brees as he's watched him over the years. He's also taken parts of the future Hall of Famer's game and tried to apply it to his own.

For the second times in as many weeks, Cousins will play quarterback opposite of one of the very best to ever do it.

This time around it's Brees, who is tied with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for the fourth most passing touchdowns in NFL history with 414.

The Purdue product doesn't seem to be slowing down much either, as the 36-year-old has already thrown for 2,763 yards and 18 touchdowns in just nine games this season.

"When you look at what he's done statistically it's very, very impressive," Cousins said. "He's doing it again this year. Fortunately it's not my job to have to stop him. He's one of the best of all-time. He's a great example and sets the bar high for the rest of us young quarterbacks to follow after."

Cousins added that Brees "plays with a great base" and that "he's got a quick release" among other attributes of his game.

"You can see how he progresses quickly in his reads and in his decision making," Cousins said. "He has great command, all those things are traits that are important to have as a quarterback in this league and things that I'm always trying to develop and improve upon and become more and more consistent with."


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