Towards the end of Kerrigan's availability, he was asked if he has noticed any changes with the starting quarterback after a record-breaking season in 2015.
“He’s the same guy – joking around at lunch today – that we’ve had in his first four years here", Kerrigan said. "If anything, any change that comes from him I think will be a positive one. I’m excited to see him continue to grow and continue to lead this team like he did last year.”
If true, it is great to see the production not going straight to the Michigan State product's head after receiving a massive raise from his rookie contract of less than one million per year to $19.953 million in 2016 after signing his franchise tag tender.
Even more importantly, Cousins is not alienating any of his teammates which perhaps played some role in the end of the Robert Griffin III era.
However, there is one way Cousins clearly will not be the "same guy" as last season because he will be forced to take on a bigger leadership role.
Cutting veterans Jason Hatcher and Dashon Goldson may have made sense because of either declining production or high salary cap figures. However, this came out the huge price of locker room presence for the Redskins.
Asked which players can be vocal leaders this season, The pass-rushing Kerrigan, like he does when on the field, focused on the player under center.
"I’d say probably Kirk [Cousins] would be a good candidate to fill those roles", Kerrigan evaluated. "He’s a guy who does things the right way. He leads by example but also he can speak really well, so I imagine he’ll fill a lot of that void from an offensive perspective."
Cousins will not be by himself to lead the Redskins as DeAngelo Hall "has always been a vocal leader" according to Kerrigan. Offensively, Washington should also be able to turn to silver back left tackle Trent Williams has a veteran presence to be guided by.
With a full off season as a starter under his belt, something not allowed last summer, it is reasonable to think Cousins is going to perform even better in 2016. If the Redskins can develop a leader out of him as well, then it might just be an early Christmas for the Burgundy and Gold.
Follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.
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