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Redskins Backup QB Kirk Cousins Will Start for Robert Griffin III vs. Browns

Redskins backup QB Kirk Cousins will start in place of the injured Robert Griffin III Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Photo by Bill Bride.
Redskins backup QB Kirk Cousins will start in place of the injured Robert Griffin III Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Photo by Bill Bride.
Mike FrandsenCorrespondent IDecember 16, 2012

Backup quarterback Kirk Cousins will start for the Washington Redskins in place of the injured Robert Griffin III on the road Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. The Redskins announced the decision via their website (www.redskins.com), twitter and facebook Saturday evening.

Robert Griffin III tweeted Saturday night:

The decision was not my own...But I will be there for my team!!! In every way I possibly can. (twitter.com/RGIII)

Griffin is recovering from a right knee Grade 1 sprain of his LCL suffered late in the Redskins’ 31-28 overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday.  

Cousins took most of the snaps in practice last week. The rookie fourth-round draft pick out of Michigan State connected on a touchdown pass to Pierre Garçon with 29 seconds left against Baltimore, then ran in the two-point conversion to tie the game at 28. The Redskins won in overtime.

Cousins also played in relief of Griffin in Week 5 against the Atlanta Falcons, throwing a 77-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss. But also threw two interceptions in the 24-17 loss. 

According to www.redskins.com, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan had said earlier Saturday that the starting quarterback would be named Sunday.

However, ESPN first reported Saturday evening that a person in the Redskins’ meeting room sent a text to ESPN stating that Shanahan told the team Cousins would start.

Shanahan has instructed his players to be tight-lipped with the media about injuries. The news means that the Browns have more time to prepare for Cousins rather than waiting until the last minute.

The Redskins apparently did not expect the news to get out, as this article, written on www.redskins.com late Saturday afternoon, was still on the team’s website after 11:00 p.m. EST—at the same time that the news of Cousins' being tabbed to start was also on the site.

Griffin is the fastest quarterback in the NFL, while Cousins is primarily a pocket passer. RG3 has had a spectacular rookie season, throwing 18 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

The Redskins (7-6) are fighting for a playoff spot. Washington is currently one game behind the New York Giants in the NFC East and one game out of the final wild-card berth in the NFC.

Cleveland (5-8) is having another disappointing season, but has won three games in a row.

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