Redskins.com's Jake Kring-Schreifels provides five takeaways from Trent Williams's press conference at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun Co., Va.
1. Without as many tight end sets available due to injury, Cousins will still just look for the open man.
It was clear that by the time both tight end Niles Paul and Jordan Reed got injured in last Sunday's Cowboys game that the Redskins offense couldn't be as dynamic and run-heavy as it would have liked.
The team has made strong use of three tight end sets, which help put big bodies around the line of scrimmage in short-yardage situations, which can often deceive defenses and give Cousins opportunities for bootlegs, plays that have created a lot of success. Likely without both of Reed and Paul this Sunday, Cousins expects to adapt simply by going through his progressions like usual.
"You have to formulate around your personnel," he said. "If we don't have enough tight ends, then we won't be able to emphasize those groupings. We may go with multiple running backs; there are other options we have. We will just have to see as we go what works best, how we match up well and then throw to the open guy."
2. Cousins has a lot of tactics to help prepare the offensive line for crowd noise in Seattle.
With at least a couple of his starting offensive linemen likely unavailable for Sunday's game against the Seahawks, Cousins knows he'll have another challenge in making sure that the entire offensive line is ready mentally to take on both a good defense and extremely loud fan base.
CenturyLink Field is notorious for being the loudest stadium in the NFL, but Cousins will lean on the offense's experiences both in Kansas City and Philadelphia to help guide them through noisy situations.
"We take that experience with us as we go to Seattle," Cousins said. "I'll be the first to say that I haven't played there. I'm sure that Seattle may be even louder than anywhere else. We'll be ready for it the best we can. We understand what we're walking into from that standpoint, and we know we have to communicate very well, verbally and visually, and be ready to go, from the first snap to the last."
Head coach Jay Gruden mentioned that the team would work inside the Indoor Training Facility on Friday to get accustomed to some crowd noise and Cousins explained how he would handle it with his linemen.
"You have silent counts, you yell and scream, you make sure the huddle is tight, you prepare for it with noise at practice and you do the best you can and make sure you're on the details," he said. "What are the challenges of having new offensive linemen? I mean, you name it. I mean, we have all kinds of code words and terms and snap counts and techniques. They have to face all kinds of different pressures and stunts and T-Es and blitzes. It's a lot. We've got to be given a crash course in trying to learn as fast as we can."
3. Cousins has been impressed with the 2012 quarterback class, and specifically Russell Wilson's career.
At his press conference on Wednesday, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll mentioned how both Cousins and Wilson were impressive when Seattle interviewed both of them during the NFL Combine. Five years later, both are the starting quarterbacks of their respective franchises. Wilson, a third-round pick, and Cousins, a fourth-rounder, are representative of the depth of that 2012 quarterback class.
Check out these photos of the Redskins' offense preparing for their Week 9 game against the Seattle Seahawks Wednesday, Nov, 1 2017, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park.
Cousins knows many of his peers in that class are off to good starts in their careers, but that more time is needed to make a full judgment. Cousins expressed his particular appreciation of Wilson, whom he texts every once in a while in the offseason.
"I'm happy for him and all the success he's had and the way he's been able to earn all those accomplishments and wins and a Super Bowl championship," Cousins said. "He's done so many great things in this league and he's got so many good years ahead of him and he's certainly a bright spot in our league when you talk about just somebody to be excited about and fun to watch and that people can get behind.
"I think that whether it was playing against him in the Big Ten, or training together for the draft, or just both being quarterbacks in the NFL, I think he's always challenged me and the competition there has always brought the best out of me as a result of always trying to raise my level of play."
4. Cousins felt he played well last week and was encouraged by the team's opportunity at the end of the game.
Despite the messy conditions and injuries that impacted a lot of the offense, Cousins felt his performance and those of his teammates were strong, especially, he said, when you consider the team's opportunity to tie or win the game in the final minute.
"We're still right there at the end," Cousins said. "There's a few third downs that if you convert, maybe you come away with a touchdown instead of a field goal. Or if you can get that field goal instead of having them block it, there's just plays here and there, you say, 'Man, we certainly made it tough on ourselves,' and yet we were still right there."
Cousins completed 26-of-39 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown, but has been sacked four times in consecutive losses. Those losses have stung, but Cousins is hopeful that with more continuity among some of the newer linemen, the offense can have more success as a whole and play with fewer mistakes.
"So you just have to keep playing," he said. "You learn that when you don't have the critical errors, you tend to hang around in this league and you tend to stay in the game. And then in the fourth quarter, try to make some plays to win it. All in all, when you factor in, like you said, so many different things, I think there were a lot of positives. We just came up short.
5. It's hard to take away too much from Houston's offensive performance against Seattle last week.
It would seem logical that the week after a team puts up 38 points against your upcoming opponent, the game plan would be set. But the Redskins are a different team than the Texans, both in personnel and scheme, making mimicry challenging.
It's also hard to imitate quarterback Dashaun Watson, breaking out in his rookie season, who threw for 402 yards and four touchdowns (with three interceptions, too) and rushed for 67 yards. He also favored wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins for 224 of his passing yards.
The Redskins do not have the same kind of aerial attack they've had in years past, utilizing more tight ends and running backs in the passing game. Cousins won't try to replicate certain plays, most of which were exercises in extreme athleticism and opportunity.
"One play was a phenomenal play down on the goal line, very athletic to avoid somebody and then quickly find someone open in the end zone," Cousins said. "Another play is a 65-yard bomb in the air where he reads the safety and throws it over the safety's head and the receiver goes and gets it for him. Another one was a simple five-yard screen pass that [DeAndre] Hopkins takes for whatever, 70 yards. It's a combination of things and when you hit on screens and you hit on a deep play pass and you hit on a red zone play action then, yeah, you are going to end up having a great day. So you have to be successful in all those phases and we would have to be as well."