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Kirk Cousins Will Start The Final Three Games


Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan told the media he would make his decision on the starting quarterback for Sunday by the time the team practiced on Wednesday.

After practice, he announced that the move he foreshadowed on Sunday would be made: Kirk Cousins will start in place of Robert Griffin III for the remainder of the 2013 season.

"At the end of the day, we felt like the best thing to do with Robert was to give Kirk a chance to play and give [Griffin III] a chance to go into the offseason healthy," he explained. "I do believe Kirk Cousins will come in and play well."

Shanahan said the decision was made based on the best interests of Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins moving into the offseason and 2014.

Before making the decision, Shanahan consulted Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen.

Griffin III has been sacked 38 times this season, including 24 times in the last five games. He has been contacted and knocked down a good deal more.

Shanahan said that he, Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen agreed that the risk of playing out the season was not worth the reward.

"What we have to do as an organization, is what is in the best interests of Robert? To have the next three games and have the experience of those reps, or going into the offseason healthy?" he asked.

"I didn't think the risk and reward was worth it. I was afraid that we would set him back. I thought we put a lot of pressure on him this year…I think he's gotten a lot of experience that will help him."

With Cousins inserted in the lineup for the final three games, Griffin III has a chance to enter the offseason at full strength.

"The quarterback needs an offseason program. It's important," Shanahan said. "He's your future. If you miss two offseasons in a row, it's the hardest thing in the world to recover from that.

"It would be devastating to him."

Cousins was the 102nd overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft and will appear in his sixth career game on Sunday.

Lifetime, Cousins is 45-for-73 for 573 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions. He has come off the bench twice this season, most recently in Week 14 vs. the Kansas City Chiefs. So far this season, he is 12-for-25 for 107 yards and two interceptions.

In one start last season, on the road vs. the Cleveland Browns, Cousins recovered from a tough start to lead the Redskins to a 38-21 victory.

Cousins completed 25 of his final 31 attempts, throwing for a Redskins season-high 329 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Robert Griffin III took the podium to address his situation for the remainder of the season. Although Cousins could not confirm that he will necessarily start the final three games, he said he is here to make the most of his opportunity.

"This is not my first time facing adversity. I've had a lot of challenges, a lot of things that haven't gone my way. It's just one more time that you need to dig deep.

"This is about the Washington Redskins and being as good as I can this Sunday to get a win against the Atlanta Falcons.

"I need to rise to the occasion, rise to the challenge and dig deep. We've got to get the job done."

Griffin III said he lends his full support to Cousins over the final three games of the season.

"I'll make sure I'm there for Kirk," Griffin III said. "He'll do a good job and I promise you I'll be there for him every step of the way."

Cousins affirmed his understanding of the situation is that the move was made purely to keep Griffin III healthy going into the offseason program. No controversy here.

"I do believe Robert is the franchise quarterback here in Washington," Cousins said. "Common sense would say that this is his team.

"I believe at the end of the day, this is Robert's team going into next season."




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