Kirk Cousins after Redskins loss: 'There’s no doubt' the protection can be better

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins
Cousins spent Sunday getting beat up by the Eagles. USATSI

Week 1 for the Washington Redskins didn't go well, as they fell to the Eagles, 30-17. There's plenty of blame to go around -- from Kirk Cousins and his 72.9 passer rating to a defense that allowed 307 passing yards to Carson Wentz -- so that's exactly what Cousins did on Monday morning, assigning the blame to himself and his teammates.

Specifically, the part that'll draw the most attention is when Cousins called out his offensive line for not being at its best.

"I think the protection can be better. There's no doubt," Cousins told Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier of 106.7 The Fan, a CBS Sports Radio station.

But again, before everyone accuses Cousins of blaming his teammates, it's worth noting that he also blamed himself.

"At the same time, there are other things we can do," he said, "of trying to get the ball out quick, finding opportunities to have some quick throws, some screens, some other ways to take their pass rush, and the way they were getting after us, and try to put us in a position of strength where we're going to use that to our advantage."

"It's a combination of factors," he said. "But there's no doubt we're going to say this week, 'Hey. We've got to protect better. We've got to hold up better.' Whether it's a play-action pass, a drop-back, a third down. And any time I can be more decisive or progress more quickly, I'm going to try to do that, because NFL pass rush is getting home quick regardless of how good the protection is."

Cousins was sacked four times, losing 40 yards and two fumbles, and was hit eight times in all. Here's one example:

By the end of the game, Cousins was feeling the pressure. On a fourth-quarter interception, Cousins threw high off his back foot a split second before the pressure arrived via a blitz:

Obviously, that interception is on Cousins. He had an open receiver and he just missed him. But it's also on the offensive line for allowing Cousins to get hit that many times over the course of the game. Hits add up and often cause a quarterback's eye level to drift away from his receivers and down to the pass rush. It can lead to sloppy mechanics, which Cousins used on that throw.

Cousins did take full responsibility for the pick.

"The interception was 100 percent my fault," he said. "It was just a poor throw. And it was disappointing because it's 3rd-and-five and I think we can get the first down if that ball's on Jamison [Crowder], and maybe he scores. Who knows?"

Here's what we do know: The Redskins lost two top playmakers this offseason in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. Cousins, meanwhile, is still playing under the short-term security of the (still lucrative) franchise tag. If Cousins continues to struggle with this less talented supporting cast, the Redskins can part ways without owing Cousins any more money. Cousins will, of course, have a market (cough cough, San Francisco, cough cough), but this is still a contract year for him. It's important.

It's probably too early for Cousins to panic, though. It's one game and there's no shame in losing to a nasty Eagles defense. Cousins might have his own catchphrase ("You like that?"), but it might be time for the Redskins' fan base to lean on another quarterback's catch phrase. In the words of Aaron Rodgers, "R-E-L-A-X." 

And of course, stop fighting each other.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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