ASHBURN, Virginia — Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins sees what everyone else sees: a lot of talent in the Redskins’ passing game. In some cases it’s proven — receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon and tight end Jordan Reed. In other cases it’s based on hope — rookie receiver Josh Doctson. And in other cases it stems from what a player has done in the past — tight end Vernon Davis.
But it’s all there, on paper, giving the Redskins optimism about their passing game. Add in slot receiver Jamison Crowder, coming off a 59-catch rookie season, and there is even more for teams to worry about.
However, first things first.
“Potential doesn’t mean a whole lot, we want results,” Cousins said after a practice session last week. “You can’t play until the fall; all you can do now is prepare. And it’s really exciting when you look at the list of guys. I know it’s been well-documented how much talent there is. I’ll be the first one to say, we have a lot of talent — the receiver position, the tight end position, the running back position.”
Cousins understood last season that he just needed to make a good decision and distribute the ball — and let the playmakers go. That doesn’t mean any quarterback can do it — life in the NFL isn’t that simple — but it does mean he knew his role. It’s the same approach he’ll take this season.
“It’s my job, and the quarterback’s job, to just get them the football and let them do the work,” Cousins said. “Get the ball out of my hand and let them go make plays. It’s exciting to have that many talented players on your offense.”
Cousins also pointed out others, such as Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen, returning from injuries at tight end. Paul is a bigger factor in the passing game than Paulsen, but both have experience. And both add more depth when it comes to weapons around Cousins. It’s enough to make a quarterback smile.
“The list goes on and on about the guys that can play and have played well for us,” Cousins said. “So it’s very exciting, and the key is as a quarterback, as a distributor, how do I get the ball to them, how do I spread it around, how do I make sure that they all get touches the best way possible? But I am going to throw to the open guy. So the best way for them to get the ball is to get open, and I’ll never pass them up, so that’s what we are working on, just trying to be as efficient as we can at getting the ball to the open man. “
Cousins knows what the others, notably Jackson, Garcon and Reed, can do. He’s also seen a change in Crowder, who enters his second season knowing that he was a factor in his first. Crowder will benefit from the talent around him, as well. But Cousins says any player who had Crowder’s success as a rookie will be confident entering his next season.
“He is another guy that I get really excited to talk about,” Cousins said. “Great teammate, smart player, natural sense of how to get open, how to run different option routes and choice routes, great natural hands, and is really good after the catch pulling away from people. So just add it to the list of guys who we are excited about being able to throw to.”
Another one: Doctson, the 22nd pick in the first round. Cousins said he went back and watched Doctson’s highlight tapes from his days at TCU. Doctson was still recovering from a tweaked Achilles during last week’s practice sessions. He is expected to contribute immediately this season, whether it’s as a backup to Garcon and Jackson or alongside them in various packages. While watching film of Doctson, Cousins said he noticed how well the receiver can make contested catches, calling it “very natural for him.”
Cousins quickly noticed Doctson’s size (6-foot-2, 206 pounds) on film.
“I almost thought he was a tight end when he showed up because of his size,” Cousins said. “Having a guy like Josh could also be a great weapon in the red zone. So we will continue to try build that chemistry as he is here and work together and learn what he does well and what fits him, what he is natural at, and try to get him the football. And you know we certainly can spread it around this year with all of the talent at the outside positions.”