Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins understands that he may have a future as a starter for another team, but told 'NFL AM' this morning that he is focused on winning a job with the Redskins.
As a former fourth-round pick, Cousins understands that nothing in the NFL is guaranteed.
"I have to be prepared to be a starter in this league," he told the NFL Network staff. "I'm still expected to go in there, to play well and to lead the Redskins to victory. I have to be able to play like I'm a starter in this league.
"Otherwise, I won't be in this league much longer."
Cousins led the first-string offense during offseason workouts and is expected to continue his role until Robert Griffin III returns from ACL surgery.
Despite encouraging progress being reported on Griffin III's knee, Cousins is continuing to approach the job like a starter.
"If I get called upon, coach [Mike] Shanahan's expectations from Robert [Griffin III] to myself don't really change," he said. "I'm working hard for whenever that opportunity comes, and if I don't get many opportunities with the Redskins, then so be it.
"But I'm going to do all I can in practice to get the coaches in Washington, D.C. excited about me being there and hope that someday it could lead to a potential opportunity to start with someone."
Cousins entered the NFL last season and has played behind Griffin III from the first day of rookie minicamp.
With the exception of three days of practice before the Week 15 contest in Cleveland, this is Cousins' first opportunity to run the starting offense.
The experience so far as been invaluable.
"The biggest benefit has been being able to work with the other No. 1 offensive players," he said. "Getting chemistry with the receivers, getting to know the offensive linemen, getting to work with the center – getting on the same page with those guys.
"Last year as a rookie, I rarely worked with those guys in practice so when I had to go into a game, it was a first-time experience playing with them. This next year I'll be much more prepared if I get called into action."
Cousins said he is preparing with the mindset of a starter, carrying the expectation that Griffin III will in fact be ready for Week 1 of the regular season.
"Obviously [Robert Griffin III] is a bit of a freak in terms of his athleticism but he's healed very quickly," he explained. "He looked really good. I think he'll be ready to go come Week 1, but obviously my mindset is to be ready no matter what.
"I'm getting ready all summer so I can be ready if called upon."
Regardless of when Robert Griffin III returns from injury, Kirk Cousins is expected to play a major role on offense during the team's preseason schedule.
With a year under his belt in the Shanahan offense, Cousins is using the preseason games as an opportunity to prove his progress and value with the Redskins' coaching staff.
"Preseason games, as much as I may be auditioning for other teams down the road, I feel like in the here and now I'm auditioning for the Washington Redskins," he said. "I'm still trying to prove my worth to this team every single day and I never have felt like my job is safe as a backup.
"I feel like I'm competing for it every practice that I go out and play."