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Kirk Cousins focused on leading Falcons, not worried about outside noise heading into 13th NFL season

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Kirk Cousins had himself quite the offseason, which included continued Achilles rehab and finding a new home in the NFL. 

Cousins ended up finding that home down South as he joined the Atlanta Falcons on a four-year pact worth $180 million with $100 million guaranteed. 

But all the talk about what Cousins would do as the new leader of the Falcons’ offense stalled a bit when the franchise drafted Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. eighth overall, easily viewed as the most surprising pick of this year’s NFL Draft. 

Talk then moved to how the pick would sit with Cousins, if there was a quarterback competition to come in training camp, and much more speculation from the football world.

However, Cousins spoke to Fox News Digital about how his focus was on leading this Falcons team through this new era, which includes Raheem Morris as head coach.

“You just control what you can control,” Cousins said while also discussing his relaxation plans on his Manitou pontoon boat before training camp begins. “I have a lot of work, I have a full plate. When I get up in the morning, and when you move to a new city, you’ve got all new teammates to get to know both on the field, what their strengths are, and then off the field, getting to know them. Coaches, much of it is the same way, the system. There’s just a lot of changes and that requires a lot of time to make up for those new changes.”


Simply put, Cousins can’t worry about how the Penix pick looks for the franchise, even if he did have an opinion on it at the time. His agent, Mike McCartney, said during the draft that Cousins’ camp was not aware of Penix being the pick in GM Terry Fontenot’s mind. 

While the Falcons are thinking about the future with Penix, Cousins knows the team is leaning on his leadership heading into year 13 to make this transition as quick and seamless as possible.

“I just kind of have to be full-speed ahead on the task at hand, and I don’t think I would’ve been able to be the same leader back in 2015,” he said. “I think part of it is I’m in year 13 now, and I know what to communicate to [running back] Bijan [Robinson], I know what I need from him, and that helps me lead him; probably helps him as well, having a clear message from his quarterback. I’m in that position now in year 13, where I have that ability to be assertive, take ownership and really communicate well. I’ve been around the block long enough to see what needs to be done.”

Kirk Cousins throws

Cousins is still working through his Achilles rehab, but he has been excited to work with his new teammates, a group of offensive weapons that many believe are primed for breakout seasons with him at the helm. 

Fox News Digital asked Cousins if Robinson, Drake London, Kyle Pitts or anyone else on the roster compare to his elite weapons in the past: Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson and more. 

“You’re influenced by the people you’ve been around in the past, so it’s difficult not to say so-and-so reminds me of another old teammate,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate to play with talented skill players for the entirety of my career, and that includes college and high school. I’ve always felt like when I’ve gone to the line of scrimmage, I’ve had skill players on the outside who are capable and can get the job done, which is a really good feeling as a quarterback. I think that continues in Atlanta.

“You definitely watch guys and say, ‘Oh, that reminds me of playing with Pierre Garçon’ or ‘That reminds me of playing with Justin Jefferson or Dalvin Cook.’ I think that helps. And then you also say, ‘Oh, I haven’t played with a guy who has that skill set combined with this.’ You have to kind of, in that case, start over and feel like you have a lot to learn.”

Kirk Cousins looks on field

The outside noise will stay just that: out of Cousins’ mind. He’s focused on building chemistry and helping the Falcons win football games starting Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers at home.

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