ASHBURN, Va. -- He mapped out his days in 15-minute increments, trying to keep a tight schedule. It was easier for Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins to do that in the past when the demands on his time weren’t so high.
This offseason, he’s traveled to London multiple times to promote a game in October. He’s had more requests for interviews and more companies asking whether he’d pitch their products. All the while, Cousins knows he can’t lose sight of what is most important: training for the season.
“I’m trying to figure that out still,” Cousins said.
To help, Cousins contacted a few starting quarterbacks and some retired players who he said had great careers. Cousins did not want to name the quarterbacks because, he said, he did not ask their permission to go public with their advice.
He wanted to know about their offseason work and how they balanced preparing for their jobs and any outside requirements.
“What was their rhythm in January, February, March? When they went back in April, May, June -- what’s their rhythm?” Cousins said. “What’s their rhythm in the summer, how do they handle family, how do they balance travel and opportunities? I’m still figuring that out, so I don’t know that I have a great answer.”
This is an important time for Cousins, who, if he plays well again, stands to receive a large contract next offseason (if he plays under the franchise tag this season). And Cousins’ reputation has been that of someone who prepares and then prepares some more. But he has yet to experience the pressures this offseason has brought.
In practices thus far, Cousins looks like the same spirited guy -- he’s calling out more audibles at the line of scrimmage and getting rid of the ball fast. Teammates and coaches have credited him with taking charge during workouts now that he knows he’s the man in charge (he spent the past three offseasons as a backup). The trick is duplicating last season's 29-touchdown, 11-interception season. The Redskins have made it clear they like him, but they're also not yet willing to meet his asking price.
Cousins' mindset never has been to relax or think he has it made. But the tough part is learning to keep pushing hard while fulfilling other obligations. Which is why listening to advice from other quarterbacks could help him this season, too.
“I’m trying to get to a routine that works for me and my wife and our family. Once we start in mid-April and go until mid-June, football’s a huge priority and I’m trying to get as much done here as I can,” Cousins said. “I would be here a while talking about what I learned from them, but it was a wide array of topics and I valued their input and I tried to implement as best I could as far as scheduling and hopefully the results work out this fall."