Kirk Cousins will start in place of injured Robert Griffin III for the Washington Redskins in their critical Week 15 matchup against the Cleveland Browns, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (via Twitter):
At team meeting minutes ago, Redskins players were informed Kirk Cousins will start at Cleveland, according to text from person in room.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 16, 2012
Griffin took to Twitter following the breaking news on Saturday night, claiming the decision was out of his hands:
The decision was not my own...But I will be there for my team!!! In every way I possibly can— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) December 16, 2012
UPDATE: Sunday, December 16 at 9:17 a.m. ET
Robert Griffin III (knee) will be inactive today, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III will not be active today and Rex Grossman will be the backup to starter Kirk Cousins.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 16, 2012
---End of Update---
Washington had been playing coy with Griffin’s status throughout the week in order to keep Cleveland guessing during its preparation.
The guessing game is apparently over.
Cousins, a fellow rookie and fourth-round pick of the Redskins, was brought in to be an insurance policy in the event the highly touted and mobile Griffin took a beating in his NFL debut.
This week, the Redskins go into Cleveland desperately needing a win over the Browns. They’ll get to test their pick first-hand by putting Cousins behind center with the team’s season on the line.
Cleveland has been on a roll as of late, winning three games in a row, and still has a long shot at sneaking into the AFC’s final wild-card spot.
During its three-game win streak, the Browns have given up just two passing touchdowns and picked off opposing passers five times.
Cousins is ready and has had some experience this season, though. He took first-team repetitions in practice all week in the event Griffin was unable to go, according to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports.
Last week, Cousins came in and finished a game-tying drive that sent the team’s matchup against the Baltimore Ravens into overtime. He completed two straight passes to bring the Skins within two points. Then on the two-point conversion attempt, he took the snap and dove into the end zone to tie things up.
In Week 5 Cousins threw a 77-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons to give the Redskins the lead. However, down by seven points, he showed his inexperience by tossing two interceptions in the final two minutes of the game to seal the win for the Falcons.