Jay Gruden held his first post-preseason press conference Monday afternoon as the focus for the Washington Redskins shifted, finally, toward their Week 1 matchup against Pittsburgh. It was the first time the head coach was available for the media after the team trimmed the roster to 53 players Saturday and added 10 more to the practice squad.
Naturally there were questions about those decisions and what they meant for the team, but other topics came up. Rashad Ross's development as a receiver. Su'a Cravens picking up reps at safety. Contending with the Steelers passing attack. Assessing Washington's defensive tackle rotation. The playmaker known as DeSean Jackson.
Nobody asked about Kirk Cousins. Granted, he was in no danger of getting cut or losing his job. Like such details matter. Some reporters will go into full Simone Biles mode to somersault their way into an angle about the starting quarterback of the Washington Redskins. With the season opener set as the next major event on the Redskins calendar, even some generic, "How will Kirk handle Pittsburgh's defense" question would suffice. I did a hour or so of radio Monday on ESPN980 and I'm actually not sure his name came up in any direct way.
As best as I can tell, Gruden wasn't asked specifically about Cousins last week either during press availabilities before the fourth and final preseason game. Granted, he was in never, ever playing in the finale. Like such details matter. Some reporters will go into full David Blaine mode to conjure up a question about the starting quarterback because people care about the starting quarterback.That's not an illusion.
Yet nobody asked anything even with the regular season upon us. Not even the basics like about his overall performance this summer or how has he improved the most since last season. Granted, the first game is a full week away. Like such details matter. Those with recorders and cameras will go into full Kardashian mode to take advantage of every media session possible to get the head coach on tape possibly saying something titillating about the starting QB for the Washington Redskins.
Here are the two things with Cousins and why he's now on the topic back-burner: His politician skills are Hall of Fame worthy, meaning he'll talk but often give little in the way of wow soundbites, and he showed enough this summer to believe the 2015 record-breaking was no fluke. Those traits make him essentially boring. Where's the backslide? Where's the outrageous quote? Where's the beef with Gruden? Or Jackson? Where's the outspokenness on Colin Kaepernick's political stance or cheesy inspirational messages posted on Twitter?
Entering the opener, there are questions about the Redskins. The running game is uncertain. So is rookie receiver Josh Doctson's status for Week 1. The defensive line doesn't look like division-title worthy on paper. It's apparent the organization recognizes the center spot needs work. We'll see what happens at left guard when Shawn Lauvao gets back to work.
The Cousins contract situation remains, though it hasn't been nearly as onerous of a topic as most imagined after the two sides couldn't agree on a long-term deal. Some factions of the fan base and national media are surely waiting to pounce if the $20 million man doesn't look the part -- or throws two straight incomplete passes. After just one year as the starter, it's premature to say they won't get their chance.
The starting QB will remain the main topic, always. Yet after a summer of saying all the right things and looking the part he's asked to play, Kirk Cousins isn't a concern entering this season. From we were a year ago, that's quite the magic act.
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