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Quotes: Kirk Cousins (10.15.14)

Quarterback Kirk Cousins

On the team's performance on third downs:

"Yeah, all the third downs have been different, but the bottom line is we're not converting enough of them. It doesn't give you a chance to stay on the field. If you can stay on the field, you can give your defense a rest, you can get your run game going. So, when you don't convert third down, a lot of other problems start to show up. I think the third downs and the turnovers are two of the biggest issues that if we can correct, I think good things are going to happen. Why we're not converting? There's a number of things. I don't think it's trying to do too much. Maybe it's trying to do too little? I think there were a couple where maybe I should have progressed and gone to work a deeper route than throw a shorter route incomplete. You can't name any one thing as the reason for why we're not converting. It's a whole list of things, but that will definitely be an emphasis this week in practice. And we need to be better not only this Sunday but the rest of the season."

On if he changes mentally or physically from the first half to the second half:

"I don't know. I don't think so. I don't think there's a big change in my approach. I really don't think it's the pressure or the moment, I don't think it's that. I think it's just trying to do too much, trying to get us back in the game and forcing things. If I could point to one thing it's trying to force things, trying to do too much. I guess in the first half, I don't feel the need to do that as much. Maybe…maybe that's it. I don't know. It's been two, two and a half quarters where I've thrown seven interceptions. That's just atrocious but the other quarters have not been consistent with that. I think the other quarters for the most part have been good football. But it's been two, two and a half quarters that have really got away from me. I need to make sure that doesn't continue to happen."

On receiver Pierre Garçon not being targeted as much in recent weeks:

"It's kind of been up and down. There's been games he's been our No. 1 guy and extremely productive and there have been other games where he hasn't had the volume of catches that we would like or he would like. You know, it can vary from teams we play to coverages to plays we call to not converting on third down. When you have to go three and out, you don't get on the field and stay on the field, it's just hard to get different receivers a lot of catches. I think if we can covert third downs, if we can stay on the field, if we can prolong drives, I think that's going to allow a guy like Pierre to continue to show up with a lot of catches week in and week out. He's still playing at a high level, and there are a lot of times where he's running great routes and he's just not getting the football, but it really is no reflection of how he's playing or what they're doing against him."

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On having tight end Jordan Reed available as an option for the first time:

"He's a great player, a very talented tight end who can do a lot of different things for us. I think he's a guy on third down who can help us. It's going to be a continual process of building that chemistry with him because like you said, this was the first game I've played with him. This last week was the first week of practice I've really repped with him with the No. 1 offense. Just trying to continue to build that chemistry and understanding of how we can work together the best."

On how the running game could help the team:

"Anytime you can run the football, it's going to take pressure off the passing game and it's going to be a much more consistent way of producing yards and points and time of possession and all those things that are important. So, if we can run the football, it's going to really help. Again, I'll go back to if we can move the chains, stay on the field, get back to another first down, second down, it's going to give us more opportunities to run the football, which in turn can give you more chances to squirt one out and get some yards. We've got to be able to stay on the field."

On if the eventual return of quarterback Robert Griffin III will affect his preparation in any way:

"It can't affect my preparation, and if it does, I'm not going to be where I need to be. He needs to get ready, he needs to do what he needs to do to be ready to go. However that gets worked out is great for the team. I'll do the best I can with the reps that I get and go back to controlling what I can control, focusing what I can do and not worrying about what I can't change."

On his confidence and the team's confidence level:

"I think we just try to be consistent. We talk about never getting too high or never getting too low. Whether we started 5-1 or 1-5, if you ride the roller coaster and try to make decisions or change your approach based on your emotions, you're just not going to be consistently successful. We need to just continue to stay consistent emotionally with our focus, with our preparation regardless of the record or what has transpired in the last few weeks."

On how comfortable he is making plays on the run:

"Yeah, I feel good. We had a good bootleg on a fourth down conversion against Arizona. It was a good play for us. It is always there. As far as pulling it and running it a little bit, that's always there too. It is just a matter of having it get called and once it's called the defense is opening it up to us and allowing it to be there. I think it is something that we do well and we will continue to do and continue to emphasize. I do believe there are times when I don't give myself enough credit as an athlete and I probably could move around a little more, scramble a little more and do a little bit more athletically than what I give myself credit. I think that could help our offense. But I can't force it; it has to come naturally. It has to be something I do instinctively I can't make a decision before the snap 'I'm going to scramble here.' It has to be something I react to."

On the importance of winning at home:

"All the games are important, especially at home. You want to win all your home games. That is always going to give you a chance to get to the playoffs. So, with a home game looming this Sunday, we need to get a win we understand that. For a lot of different reasons we want to get a win and it is important to win games, especially in a home game like this when a lot of former alumni are coming back."

On his accuracy on shorter routes:

"Every play is different, but I do see a play here or there where if I wait a second longer, let the route develop, I will have a better idea of where he's going and I can lead him better. I really don't think it is an accuracy issue. I just think that is one of my strengths. That's what has gotten to this point to be here in the NFL. So to say I am not accurate or I'm struggling to locate where the football needs to go, that's not it. It's more the timing of a concept, just chemistry with a receiver, my feet, having my feet in balance and being able to move in the pocket and stay balanced because it is an imperfect world and you can't always have a perfect pocket around you. So, I think it is more those elements than it is just accuracy or 'I am struggling with throwing shorter throws.' I just don't think it is that."

On how he is dealing with this stretch after being successful throughout his football career:

"Yeah, I have been in tough spots before. I started my career at Michigan State as a starter 1-3. So, it hasn't always been roses, it hasn't always been great. I have been through my fair share of challenges. So I think if you play this long enough, sure on the outside it looks like you have had a lot of success to get here, but there have been plenty of valleys and difficult times to push through to get to this point. So this is by no means the first time I've faced this and as a result you are experienced. You know what is like to go through a tough experience. It is just a matter of continuing to move forward, continuing to be tough on yourself so you can get better and try to prevent future mistakes and find a way however possible to get a win."

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