After getting a three-week taste of the starting job to end the 2013 season, Cousins wants to play.
“[F]rom the day I was drafted, all I’ve really wanted is the chance to compete to be a starting quarterback,” Cousins recently told 106.7 The Fan in D.C., via Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post. “I think that’s what all of us ask for, in whatever profession we have, we want a chance to show what we can do. . . . And because of the situation I was drafted into in D.C., that obviously isn’t in the cards for me. And so my attitude all along has been, if someone wants to give me that opportunity to have that chance to compete, I’d love to go somewhere. But right now in D.C. if I stay, my job is to be a great backup and hopefully one day become a starter.”
Cousins’ position isn’t surprising; any other approach would be disappointing. “If there’s any NFL quarterback who doesn’t want what I just communicated, I would seriously question — as a fan base or as an organization — what good he’s doing for your team,” Cousins said.
Still, it sounds like Cousins has a plan for politely pushing the issue. “I’m gonna communicate my desire to play in a classy way,” Cousins said. “I don’t want to do it in a way that’s gonna hurt our organization or reflect poorly on me or the team. But yeah, I absolutely want to play, and that’s not a complicated fact. But we’ll see what happens. We’ll see what’s in the cards. And if I’m not good enough, I’ve got to accept that, but all I’m looking for is that chance.”
Cousins apparently would like to be first-string option in Washington, even though new coach Jay Gruden has made it clear that Robert Griffin III is the unquestioned starter. If Cousins isn’t going to have a chance to win the job in Washington, he ideally would want to be the starter elsewhere. But he’s not going to spend the next two years ranting and raving about being traded.
“I’ve signed a four-year contract and I want to honor that contract, so I’m not going to demand anything,” Cousins said. “You know, I’m grateful for the opportunity to play in the NFL. I feel like I’m living the dream. So no, I’m not going to demand anything. That’s not my thought process. I did want to be proactive and communicate where I’m coming from, and not just sit back and assume that people knew the way I felt. So I wanted to communicate it, go to the right people, tell them how I feel, and then those decision-makers can make the decisions they want to make. And I do take it as a compliment if they don’t have any interest in trading me. Then maybe that means they see me as a valuable person who can help this team, and in that sense, I’ll take it as a compliment.”
The Redskins would be wise to keep Cousins around, given the possibility that Griffin gets injured again, or that for whatever reason he doesn’t reach the full amount of his football potential. Along the way, the worst thing the Redskins could do is fail to embrace a spirit of constant competition.
The Seahawks revel in that mindset, and it’s one of the reasons why they’re currently getting ready to design their Super Bowl rings.