Cousins to start for injured RG3 on Sunday

Robert Griffin III’s sprained right knee will keep him out of
the starting lineup Sunday when the Washington Redskins visit the
Cleveland Browns in a game with vital playoff implications.

The Redskins announced Saturday night that fellow rookie Kirk
Cousins will make his first career start as Redskins (7-6) try to
run their winning streak to five games and keep the pressure on the
first-place New York Giants in the NFC East.

Griffin tweeted: ”The decision was not my own… But I will be
there for my team!!! In every way I possibly can”.

The Redskins did not say whether Griffin will be active for the
game, or whether veteran Rex Grossman, who has been an inactive
third-string quarterback for every game this season, will serve as
the primary backup to Cousins.

Griffin, who is tied with New England’s Tom Brady for the NFL
lead in passer rating and whose popularity has soared in a few
short months as a 22-year-old newcomer to the league, was injured
when he was hit by defensive tackle Haloti Ngata late in regulation
during last week’s 31-28 overtime victory over the Baltimore

An MRI revealed a mild sprain of the lateral collateral
ligament. The No. 2 overall draft pick and last year’s Heisman
Trophy winner was limited in practice all week, favoring the leg
heavily on Wednesday but moving considerably better Thursday and

But offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said during the week
that a decision on Griffin will rely more on the stability of the
knee and the risk of further injury rather than how well the
quarterback can move in practice, and head coach Mike Shanahan
indicated the final call would hinge on an doctor’s re-examination
of the knee on Saturday.

The results of the examination apparently didn’t go RG3’s

Griffin has thrown 18 touchdown passes and only four
interceptions this season and has a 104.2 rating. He has also
rushed for 748 yards, an NFL record for a rookie quarterback.

Cousins was drafted in the fourth round from Michigan State, a
surprise selection given that the Redskins had already selected
Griffin. He made his first appearance after Griffin suffered a
concussion against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5 and threw one
touchdown pass and two fourth-quarter interceptions in a 24-17

Then last week, Cousins went 2 for 2 in the Redskins’ final
drive of regulation after Griffin was injured, throwing an 11-yard
touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon with 29 seconds left and then
running in the game-tying 2-point conversion.

Cousins has completed 7 of 11 passes for 137 yards with two
touchdowns and two interceptions in his two appearances. He has
gained a reputation as a studious backup, benefiting from the fact
that he and Griffin were brought along together in an offseason
program and training camp specifically designed by Redskins coaches
for quarterbacks new to the pros.

The Redskins were 3-6 before their bye week, but now they are
one game behind the Giants and also one game behind the
front-runners for the NFC’s two wild card berths. Griffin has led
the comeback, throwing for 10 touchdowns and only one interception
during the four-game winning streak.

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