Redskins’ RG3 & Cousins grow as rookie QB tandem
Not-so-breaking news: A rookie will start at quarterback for the
Washington Redskins on Sunday.
Be it Robert Griffin III or Kirk Cousins, it will be a rookie
who’s been a part of a unique situation, part of a tandem that has
learned the NFL through an offseason program and training camp
specially designed by a coaching staff prepping two quarterbacks
new to the league.
All along, the other rookie has been there by his side, at
practices and meetings. Someone in the same situation. Someone to
bounce ideas off of. Someone to grow with.
”I see him more than I see most anybody in my life,” Cousins
said. ”Because of how many hours we’re here, because we’re both
If two is better than one, then the Redskins (7-6) should be in
better shape than most teams turning to a first-year backup should
Cousins have to start in place of Griffin against the Cleveland
”We’ve both had to learn a lot when it comes to living the NFL
life, so we have done that together,” Cousins said. ”They’ve had
to install plays with both of us there, rather than being by myself
if I was on another team with a veteran quarterback. You don’t see
it a lot – two rookie quarterbacks at one and two on the depth
The Redskins traded up to select Griffin at No. 2 overall and
anointed him the starter shortly thereafter, while Cousins was
chosen in the fourth round – a highly debated pick for a team
coming off of a 5-11 season with needs elsewhere.
Yet, even if he does nothing else in 2012, Cousins surely
validated the wisdom of his selection with his performance after
Griffin was injured in the fourth quarter of the overtime win
against the Baltimore Ravens.
Cousins stepped in and went 2 for 2 and ran in the game-tying
2-point conversion in the final minute of regulation of the 31-28
”It worked out like Coach wanted it to,” Griffin said.
”You’ve got two guys coming in, so we’re both having to learn the
Griffin sprained a ligament in his right knee in the game and
has been limited in practice this week. If he’s not ready to go by
Sunday, the Redskins like what they have in Cousins.
”You knew exactly how we felt about Robert when we made him the
starting quarterback and gave up what we gave up,” coach Mike
Shanahan said. ”You have the opportunity to get a guy like Kirk,
we thought that was the best thing for the organization – and I
think that’s proven out already.”
Cousins beat out veteran Rex Grossman for the No. 2 job during
training camp – Grossman has been inactive for every game this
season – and saw regular season action for the first time when
Griffin suffered a concussion in Week 5. Cousins threw one
touchdown pass but also had two fourth-quarter interceptions in the
But against the Ravens, Cousins stepped into a high-pressure
situation and delivered, rolling right to buy time before hitting
Pierre Garcon for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds
remaining in the fourth quarter.
”I said after the Atlanta game that as much as I hate the
result, I would learn from it,” Cousins said. ”And I think
results this past Sunday prove that. I think part of the reason I
left the pocket on the touchdown pass was the mistake I made
against the Falcons in the second interception.”
Cousins said he received some 140 text messages after the Ravens
win and responded to maybe two or three, saying to his brother: ”I
went 2 for 2. Let’s not get carried away.”
”It’s a tough position,” Cousins said. ”You go 2 for 2 and
everybody loves you. If you go 0 for 2, everybody hates you. You
say, `It’s only two passes. That’s not really much of a body of
work to make a decision either way.’
”But the position that I’m in, being where I was drafted and
the role I have, I’m not going to get a whole season or two seasons
to show the NFL what I can do. I’m going to get a half of a game
and a preseason game. I’m going to get two throws at the end of a
Ravens game, so I have to be willing to accept that.
”It’s not ideal. I would have loved to have been the 10th
overall pick and have two or three seasons to see what I can or
what I can’t do, but that’s not the luxury I have.”
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