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'This is the guy that's gonna lead us:' How Kirk Cousins is playing a role as teacher to help young offense

Since Kirk Cousins joined the Falcons, he has helped young players like Drake London, Kyle Pitts and Bijan Robinson learn a new scheme. 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins enters Year 13 with four seasons of postseason experience. Several of the teammates he'll be throwing to haven't had more than five years in general under their belt, let alone a playoff game to their resume.

Cousins' teammates are eager to learn from his wealth of knowledge, and he's more than willing to teach.

"To have a guy who knows the ins and outs of it to make this a little bit easier, maybe raise our percentages a little bit higher to go out there and ball and execute," wide receiver Drake London said, "then I'm gonna listen."

London is just one of the young pass catchers for Cousins to target this upcoming season. Tight end Kyle Pitts and running back Bijan Robinson are also on that list. All are under the age of 24 years old, while Cousins is set to turn 36 years old in August.

Cousins stepping up as a teacher was intentional from the very first day, tight end Kyle Pitts recalled. That intentionality includes the quarterback working with each player individually in ways they're best able to learn. For example, while just watching film may work for some players, Pitts needs to be able to physically walk through plays on the field to take in the formation. Cousins caters to all needs.

Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts #8 and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins #18 during OTAs at Atlanta Falcons Training Facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia, on Friday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Taylor McLaughlin/Atlanta Falcons)

Cousins' teaching style also helps as this young group learns a new offense under offensive coordinator Zac Robinson. While everyone take steps in mastering the new scheme, Cousins already has some experience with the system after working with a Minnesota Vikings coaching branch that shares Los Angeles Rams roots with Robinson.

There are moments when Cousins breaks down plays in a digestible way for teammates to the point where the offensive coordinator thinks, "He said it better than I did."

"Coaches, sometimes, we make things overcomplicated, and players just need that quick little bit. Kirk's got a great way to explain things," Robinson said. "He's just a good communicator."

It helps that Cousins is still as much of a student as he is a teacher. Earlier in the offseason, head coach Raheem Morris described the quarterback as a "nerd" in meetings with his fervent note-taking and attention to detail.

"The cool thing with him is having a quarterback that studies so much," Bijan Robinson said. "I saw his little play sheet and his spot sheet... and he throws them into those spots in practice. I'm like, 'That's kind of crazy.'"

Cousins' meticulous nature was evident — much like his intentionality with teaching — from very start and carries on as the Falcons continue their offseason programming. In their first offensive meeting, quarterback coach T.J. Yates remembers Cousins pulled out that notepad and gave an impromptu presentation when the meeting was simply meant for introductions.

"It was good for the coaches (to see). It was good for the players in the room to open up their eyes and go, 'Wow, this guy's about business,'" Yates said. "This is the guy that's gonna lead us. This is the type of professional and the type of quarterback that you want."

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