Sam Cosmi is headed back to Texas for his first NFL offseason, and that means one thing: he'll be eating a lot more of his mom's homemade cooking.
"I'm not over 300 pounds for no reason," Cosmi joked to the media on Monday.
Cosmi's mother told him that she already has a few things planned for him, and judging by the items he listed off during his press conference, it's an appetizing menu. It included mamaliga, a Romanian porridge dish with cottage cheese and bacon, and chicken and shrimp alfredo.
The new diet won't be the only change for Cosmi after he wrapped up his rookie season with the Washington Football Team. He doesn't have to worry about preparing for the NFL Draft or a Pro Day like he did last summer. He can put all of his focus on fine-tuning the long list of things he's learned in the past few months.
"Now I get to kind of be me," Cosmi said. "[I can] figure out myself and figure out what I need to do better and reevaluate myself."
Cosmi, who Washington selected in the second round of last year's draft, has come a long way since his days of getting beat by Chase Young and Montez Sweat in training camp. Despite missing almost half the season due to a mixture of injuries and spending time on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, he finished the season with the 11th-highest run block grade, per Pro Football Focus, as well as the third-highest overall grade among all rookie offensive tackles.
Cosmi can credit that growth to working with offensive line coach John Matsko, who he said helped change his game during his rookie season. Matsko offered pointers on aspects of Cosmi's skillset like staying square in his stance, being physical and using his hands.
"He gets you prepared for the game, for sure," Cosmi told Senior Vice President of Media and Content Julie Donaldson. "The amount of preparation and…bookwork and personnel work and test and all that stuff, you gotta know everything. So he gets you prepared for that. He does a really good job in that."
Learning how to properly strike opponents, Cosmi said, was a big emphasis for Matsko. Being physical is a starting point, but it also involves getting the proper extension in his arms. Those coaching tips showed up on the field as well; according to Football Outsiders, Washington had the seventh-most adjusted line yards when rushing behind the right tackle.
"Sam has really been working hard every day," assistant offensive line coach Travelle Wharton said Oct. 1. "You can see the work that he takes from the practice field and how he takes it to the game. He's not making the same mistakes as a rookie will make over and over. He's learning from him and that's a big positive, learning from your mistakes because you got to go out there and play."
Off the field, one of the most important lessons Cosmi learned was how to take care of his body. He told Donaldson that playing in an NFL game made him feel like "he got hit by a truck," so he took some tips from his veteran teammates on how to endure the grind of a four-month season.
That guidance also came in handy when Cosmi missed extended time with ankle and hip injuries. He didn't deal with injuries in college, so he didn't know how to make sure he was getting the most out of his rehab. His teammates' advice was to prepare each week like he was going to play.
"That just keeps you on track," Cosmi said. "The mental aspect of it, taking mental reps in that aspect is just huge when it comes to not losing where you were and what track I was on."
As Cosmi heads into the offseason, his main focus will be to improve his consistency in all facets of his game. He wants to take the coaching that Matsko gave him on punching, striking and being more physical in pass protection and keep improving them in the coming months. Handwork is also big for Cosmi, so he's planning on incorporating that into his routine as well.
The good news is that he can put all his energy into preparing for his second season. He doesn't have to do any combine or Pro Day specific workouts to try and prove himself to a team. He's already done that and backed it up with how he performed this season.
"It's going to be huge," Cosmi said. "Just being able to focus on myself, reevaluate myself."