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ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Kirk Cousins has played in 11 games in 2¼ seasons for the Washington Redskins. He's been praised as better than Robert Griffin III after some and derided as nothing better than a career backup after others.
That's an awful lot of zigzag to handle, even for an even-keeled guy.
"It's been tough," Cousins said Thursday. "Even my rookie year, when you only get a couple of spots and everybody's going to try to write the book on who you are as a quarterback."
Cousins' stock plummeted with a second-half meltdown that included four interceptions in last week's blowout loss to the New York Giants. He looked nearly as bad as, well, Tom Brady, who finished the game on the bench in the New England Patriots' 27-point loss Monday night.
Brady, of course, has earned the right to get more chances. Cousins will also have the opportunity to rebound, if only because Griffin is sidelined at least a few more weeks with a dislocated ankle. Besides, Cousins appeared on the verge of forcing a Cousins-Griffin quarterback controversy after back-to-back solid games before the Giants debacle.
Where will it all end? Cousins would sure like to know.
"How do you deal with that? You know, I don't know that I have the perfect answer," Cousins said. "I'm the kind of guy who would like to know my future and like to know how things are going to play out. I don't. So I try not to ride the roller coaster. I try to be as consistent as I can possibly be and I think that approach is going to help me have success in this league.
"But, as a quarterback, you're going to have things that go your way, you're going to have times where it's going to be tough. I think the guys that last are the guys who can ride it out and stay consistent no matter what."
Cousins hardly has the ideal setting for redemption. The Redskins are hosting the disruptive defense of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks on Monday night. Cousins prides himself on preparing the same way every week, but he admitted that the Giants loss is one that will always sit with him "in a bad way." Against the Seahawks, he'll have to guard against playing a hesitant game in the wake of the four-pick defeat.
"That's a natural response to having a game like I had last week, a young quarterback especially," Cousins said. "Human nature would say you're going to be a little more careful, but if you do that I think you get in trouble more than you help yourself."
The Giants defensive backs said their day was made easier because Cousins was staring down some of his receivers. That's certainly something not to repeat against All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman and the Seahawks.
"He's still progressing," coach Jay Gruden said. "He's very young with limited starts. That's going to come with experience. Staring down receivers is part of it that you have to learn from. If you stare down receivers against these guys, you're going to throw more than four picks — you're going to throw about 11."
Notes: Gruden said Tracy Porter has "tweaked" the right hamstring injury that kept the cornerback out of the first three games. Porter was not on the field for practice. ... TE Niles Paul (concussion) took part in a portion of practice but has yet to be cleared for contact. ... LT Trent Williams (right knee), Shawn Lauvao (right knee) and TE Jordan Reed (left hamstring) were also among those limited.
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