Should the Redskins Use Both Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins in Week 15?

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Should the Redskins Use Both Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins in Week 15?
Rob Carr/Getty Images
RG3 and the Redskins are in the NFC postseason mix.

The Washington Redskins can win with Robert Griffin III or Kirk Cousins.

However, should both be used during the course of a game?

Well the approach would certainly be a change of pace, except from the quarterback position as opposed to running back. Also, per ESPN.com:

Robert Griffin III moved better on his sprained right knee at practice Thursday but the Washington Redskins do not plan to announce their starting quarterback until Sunday, a team source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Cousins, on the other hand, fared well during his preseason appearances, and that transitioned nicely when under center during the regular season. Despite limited time, the former Michigan State Spartan, if anything, has proven to be quite reliable.

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As for Washington's Week 15 opponent, the Cleveland Browns are no cakewalk.

Although Cleveland sports a 5-8 record, the Browns feature one of pro football's most underrated defenses.

Through 14 weeks the Browns have recorded 34 sacks and forced 27 turnovers. Given the disparity between RG3's and Cousins' quarterbacking attributes, mobility against Cleveland is an advantage.

Playing both, however, is an interesting approach for Washington on Sunday.

Not to mention, it's what the Browns must expect to cover all bases. In an article by Mark Maske of the Washington Post:

“When it’s something like this where you’re not sure who’s going to play quarterback,” [Pat] Shurmur said in a conference call with D.C. area reporters, “what we do is prepare for the Washington Redskins’ offense…. We have to prepare for, really, all those elements as we move forward.”

Shurmur said he’s not certain how different the Redskins’ offensive approach would be if Cousins plays in place of Griffin.

“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s hard to tell. And that’s why you prepare for the full offense."

One way is limiting RG3's usage to strict passing situations, third down and inside the red zone. The Browns are a physical defense, so the fewer hits Griffin takes the better.

Unfortunately, the star rookie has been sacked 28 times and has felt a few more hits when making plays downfield as well. As a result, only putting him under center when needing a first down presents that pass-run option to Cleveland.

Even better, the Browns run a 4-3 defense just like the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. Compared to RG3's efficiency against a 3-4 (Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens), that type of front is a competitive advantage for Washington.

Giving Cousins time also benefits the Redskins, as Cleveland ranks No. 21 against the pass and allows a 61.3 completion percentage. His mobility, arm strength and accuracy are underrated, and that's a key reason why Cousins led Washington to tie the game in the waning minutes again Baltimore.

Rob Carr/Getty Images
Kirk Cousins with the spike.

Against Cleveland, Cousins can still give Washington the luxury of utilizing roll-outs and setting up play-action. The Browns get pressure and force turnovers, but they're still vulnerable at the point of attack and when facing explosive offenses.

No matter which rookie takes the snap, Washington's rushing threat with Alfred Morris will force the linebackers to respect the ground game. After all, Cleveland gives up 4.3 yards per rush and Morris gets an average of 4.9.

Using both RG3 and Cousins is a greater strategic advantage to Washington than at first glance, because the attack does not drastically change. In addition, the Redskins can still run the ball and maintain balance throughout.

 

Follow John Rozum on Twitter.

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