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Gruden: Plan Is To Start Griffin III Vs. Eagles

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden on Monday said the team is planning on starting Robert Griffin III at quarterback Saturday for its Week 16 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField.

Yesterday against the New York Giants, Griffin III came on in relief of then-starter Colt McCoy, who had to leave the game and didn't return after re-aggravating a neck injury.

Check out the top photos from the Washington Redskins' Week 15 matchup against the New York Giants on Dec. 14, 2014, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Griffin III would go on to turn in a quality performance for the Redskins, completing 18-of-27 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown, while also adding 46 yards rushing in Washington's 24-13 loss to New York at MetLife Stadium.

"I'd like to see him improve, and he's got every chance this week against the Philadelphia Eagles to take this position and run with it," Gruden told reporters Monday. "I'd like to see him have a sense of urgency and play well, and hopefully there won't be much of a debate if he does well."

Griffin III came into the 2014 season as the team's No. 1 quarterback, but a dislocated ankle suffered Week 2 against the Jacksonville Jaguars kept the 2012 No. 2-overall draft pick out for the next seven weeks.

In his place, the Redskins started Kirk Cousins, and later, McCoy, before Griffin III returned Week 9 against the Minnesota Vikings.

He played the next two weeks – in losses to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers – before Gruden elected to make McCoy his starter Week 13 against the Indianapolis Colts.

But McCoy suffered a sprained neck in the fourth quarter of the Redskins' Week 14 matchup against the St. Louis Rams, and, although he was cleared in the week leading up to yesterday's game against the Giants, he re-aggravated the injury on a scramble play in the first quarter.

Gruden said Monday it was likely McCoy would not be available on Saturday, leaving backup duties to Cousins.

"I don't think we'll have Colt available this week," the first-year head coach said. "We're going to go with Robert and give him every opportunity to succeed."

Griffin III came out on fire yesterday, completing 9-of-15 passes for 140 yards and a nine-yard touchdown pass to running back Chris Thompson.

The Redskins found success on plays in which Griffin III could move out of the pocket and find the open receiver, nine of which caught passes in the first half yesterday.

But Washington couldn't get much going offensively in the second half, when they converted just 1-of-7 third down opportunities and saw Griffin III sacked five times.

Still, Gruden thought Griffin III "played with good energy" throughout the entire game.

"I thought he tucked the ball down and ran it when he had to a few times and was pretty efficient with the passing game," he said. "He's just got to continue to go through the same progressions and see the concepts, something to build off of from last week, hopefully."

Griffin III said after yesterday's game that he felt the "playcalling was on point" against the Giants, and was looking forward to his next opportunity to play – whenever that was going to be.

"No matter what [Gruden] decides, I'm going to be ready," Griffin III said. "That's just the approach you have to take towards this game because anything can happen. No one would have thought I was going to go in as early as I did today and it just happened that way."

At 3-11 and facing the top two teams in the division – the Eagles on Saturday and the NFC East-leading Cowboys on Dec. 28 – to wrap up the year, Griffin III said the Redskins certainly are "not giving up."

"We have to hold our heads high even though our record says we shouldn't," he said. "Even though we lost today, we have a short week coming up, nobody is going to feel sorry for us. Everyone is going to try to go out here and win games. That's what we have to do and I know those guys in there work hard and we have to start doing some things to get us out of this rut."




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