'RIP Red Lobster': Kirk Cousins Using Meals, Movies to Build Chemistry with Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons have a young offense with a veteran quarterback, and Kirk Cousins's dad jokes and older wisdom are spreading to his teammates.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins is building chemistry with his offensive line through meals and movies.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins is building chemistry with his offensive line through meals and movies. / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins knows the importance of building relationships - especially with the five offensive linemen tasked with keeping him upright.

On the first day of team activities April 2, Cousins sat with his offensive line at lunch, introducing himself. Those meals have since grown from the dining halls at IBM Performance Facility to national hot spots.

"That's our first thing, kind of checking out these chain restaurants," Cousins said last Monday. "RIP Red Lobster, so we're going to Texas Roadhouse."

Cousins, who signed a four-year contract this spring worth up to $180 million with $100 million guaranteed, has made over $230 million in guaranteed money during his 12-year playing career.

In essence, there's no shortage of funds to support the group of offensive linemen going through biscuits at Red Lobster or dinner rolls at Texas Roadhouse, the latter of which happened last Tuesday.

But the 35-year-old Cousins has found other ways to form cohesion with his teammates - a personal favorite method is movie quotes.

"All the sports movies kind of show up at practice," Cousins said. "Definitely Heavyweights, that's a big one right now. I'm thinking about having a watch party with the O-Line where we watch Heavyweights to introduce these guys to Heavyweights."

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Cousins added 32-year-old left tackle Jake Matthews has a particular appreciation for his movie quotes, as they're from the same generation. 31-year-old backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke is also close enough to where he shares similar references.

Otherwise, there aren't many others in Atlanta's youth-filled offense who quite grasp Cousins's quotes - but it hasn't stopped him from trying.

“Speaking of talking to younger players, I referenced when Ben Stiller was referring to his previous self before he thinned down," Cousins said. "And he says, 'I know you because I was you.' I say that to so many teammates so many times.

"When I see them doing something foolish, I'll say, 'I know you because I was you.'"

Cousins and Matthews are the only projected Falcons offensive starters above the age of 30, but thus far, it hasn't seemed to matter in terms of building chemistry.

And as long as Cousins keeps the dinner rolls coming, his one-liners may start growing on his teammates, regardless of age.

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Daniel Flick

DANIEL FLICK

Daniel Flick is an accredited NFL writer for Sports Illustrated's FanNation. Daniel has provided boots-on-ground coverage at the NFL Combine and from the Atlanta Falcons' headquarters, among other destinations, and contributed to the annual Lindy's Sports Magazine ahead of the 2023 offseason. Daniel is a co-host on the 404TheFalcon podcast and previously wrote for the Around the Block Network and Georgia Sports Hospitality Media.