Kirk Cousins' new life: Golfing with the president and reduced work

Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins says he felt burned out before the start of last season so he'll try to pace himself over the next month. AP Photo/Nick Wass

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins golfed with the president and watched his cousin get drafted in the same city. Yet the biggest change for Cousins over the next six weeks will be something he struggled to do last year: Let it go.

Cousins wants to take the occasional break so he doesn't wear himself out before the season, which he said occurred in 2016. Several days before the season opener versus Pittsburgh, Cousins said he was watching film when a thought hit him.

"I felt like I had been going a million miles an hour since the end of the [season]," Cousins said. "I was almost worn out before the season started because I had pushed so hard to be at the top of my game in OTA one, and training practice one and preseason game one.

"I was treating every day like it was Monday Night Football against the Steelers. If you do that 365 days a year, there's a thing called burnout. ... That hit me like, 'Now it counts, now I have to be ready, and I'm pretty exhausted.'"

He said he wanted to pace himself better this offseason, especially over the next six weeks before training camp opens in Richmond. Cousins and the Redskins closed their two-day minicamp Tuesday, a day when the quarterback was not his sharpest. He tried to hit several targets downfield, showing a more aggressive mindset than usual, only to be intercepted or have balls deflected in triple coverage.

Cousins hasn't always taken those chances in practice -- not to this degree -- so that represents another change. Also, with a new receiver in Terrelle Pryor and an inexperienced one in Josh Doctson, Cousins needs to see what he can and can't get away with when throwing to them.

"In practice it's good to experiment," Cousins said. "I threw a couple into tight coverage that I don't want to make a habit of doing, but as long as I can learn from it, not to do that again, but also what I can get away with and what works. That's where OTAs and minicamp are valuable."

Now, with minicamp over, Cousins just wants to spend more time enjoying life rather than using every minute to prepare. Last week, for example, he golfed with President Donald Trump. He told the Washington Post the outing was arranged by Eric Shuster, the director of strategic partnerships at CSN Midatlantic.

Cousins told the Post the opportunity was too good to pass up, so he accepted the invitation to play at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

"Had a good enough time that if there's any former presidents in the D.C. area that want to give me a call, I'd love to meet them at one of the courses around here. I know lots of members at these course and I'm not, so I'd love to get on and get to meet them. Republican, Democrat, left, right, I'd love an invite."

Along with that, a cousin of Cousins was drafted in the 20th round by the Washington Nationals. Jake Cousins is a right-handed pitcher from the University of Pennsylvania.

All of that, plus impending fatherhood, will force Cousins to adapt to a lifestyle that includes just a little less homework. His baby is due around Week 1, though Cousins already has said his wife, Julie, will sleep with the baby in another room during the season so he can get his rest. He then joked he'd be the one in the room with the baby for the next six months.

But it's all part of the work-life balance he's trying to achieve.

"Just enjoying the summer, taking time to get away," Cousins said. "Enjoying the time off rather than going over the plays 80 times. Trying to go over, over, over and over it. Eventually you say, 'Hey, I'm going to be good,' and just put it away. It's a balance. It's never prepare, prepare, prepare like crazy with no rest and it's never, 'Hey, I don't need to prepare. I can just show up.' Somewhere is a healthy medium and that's what I'm always trying to find."