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

Browns (5-8).

”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

24-17 loss.

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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