If RGIII Can't Start, Backup QB Kirk Cousins Can't Fill Void for Redskins

John BibbAnalyst IIIDecember 11, 2012

The Washington Redskins "other" rookie QB Kirk Cousins could be called upon should RG3's knee injury prevent him from playing Week 15 against the Cleveland Browns.
The Washington Redskins "other" rookie QB Kirk Cousins could be called upon should RG3's knee injury prevent him from playing Week 15 against the Cleveland Browns.Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

After a knee injury sidelined rookie QB Robert Griffin III in the final minute of the game, backup QB Kirk Cousins rallied the Redskins to a TD and two-point conversion to tie and eventually defeat the Baltimore Ravens 31-28 in Week 14.  

For the brief moment of celebration for Redskins fans, it was incredible. Now and soon thereafter, reality has sunk in. Is RG3's injury going to make Cousins the starter next week?

On any given Sunday in the NFL, a come-from-behind overtime win would be cause for great rejoicing and celebration. The water cooler conversation Monday morning would be nothing but talk about "the Game" among 'Skins fans. Instead, the majority of the chat will center on one man and one question.  

"Will RG3 play next week?" 

There is an air of uncertainty surrounding Griffin's injury status despite assurances from 'Skins team doctors, coaches and staff. As of late Monday night, Griffin's prognosis was good and he has not been ruled out for Week 15 against the Cleveland Browns. He is officially listed as "questionable." His status will be updated on a day-to-day basis.

So that begs the question: Should Griffin not be medically cleared to play, can fellow rookie QB Kirk Cousins extend the team's four-game winning streak?

The answer is not simple and is of a two-fold nature. Yes, he can lead the team to victory. Anything can happen, and Cousins has an enormous cast of talented and capable players.

What Cousins cannot do is replace Griffin and fill the enormous void created should RG3's sprained knee keep him from starting against the Browns.  

Here are staggering numbering to consider.

*Griffin contributes to an astounding 73 percent of the Redskins offense. Of the total team offensive yards through Week 14, Griffin has 748 rushing yards and is less than 100 yards from eclipsing 3,000 passing yards (2,906). 

*RG3 is tied with New England's Tom Brady for fewest interceptions (four) on the season. He has thrown 351 passes and completed 66 percent.

*Griffin's touchdown-to-interception differential is plus-14. He is tied for the all-time rookie record in this category with Dan Marino (1983).

*Griffin leads the NFL with the highest passing rate of 104.3.  

*The Redskins have scored 30-plus points six times this season and as a team (read Alfred Morris and RG3) they have 150-plus yards rushing in 10 of 13 games.

Impressed? I have been since Griffin's professional debut when the Redskins defeated the Saints, 40-32. These statistics and records held by RG3 can and will continue to be set and broken as we embark upon the last three weeks of the regular season.

Don't get me wrong, I would love to see Cousins step in and pick up where he left off against the Ravens. However, not under the circumstances and what is at stake for the Redskins this late in the season. After all, Cousins has extremely limited game experience this season—7-of-11 passing for 137 yards, two TDs and two INTs. That's it!

The "will he or won't he play?" question regarding Griffin will linger all week. I expect the team to delay the answer until they are beyond a reasonable doubt pertaining to RG3's readiness.  

All things said, I think the team is in great hands should Cousins be called upon. He cannot fill Griffin's shoes—he would need to make new footprints.

The Redskins travel to face the Cleveland Browns Sunday, Dec. 16 at 1 p.m. ET on FOX.


Statistical information contained in this article are courtesy of NFL.com

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