John Keim | ESPN.com
ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Redskins made it clear they would be thrilled if quarterback Kirk Cousins plays well the final three games. They also made it clear nothing would change entering next season.
Robert Griffin III would be the starter. And Cousins would be a more proven backup — or with another team. In other words, if you’re looking for a potential quarterback controversy in the future, the coaches say to look elsewhere.
“It’s ridiculous to act like this is a quarterback competition,” Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. “Robert just had one of the best years as a rookie in NFL history. He didn’t have that this year. We didn’t do that again this year. To give up on him like that and say play someone else, that’s fun for people to talk about but that hasn’t entered my brain and it’s not a possibility or option.”
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said the team benched Griffin for the final three games to keep him healthy entering the offseason. Griffin spent this past offseason rehabbing his surgically-repaired right knee and did not start practicing with the team until training camp. The coaches pointed to his lack of reps in the offseason as a reason for his growing pains this season.
Mike Shanahan’s job security is tenuous at best so their thoughts on the future might not matter. Still, for now, they’re not worried what would happen if Cousins plays well. That’s precisely the situation they want.
“We made a decision a long time ago that Robert is our quarterback,” Mike Shanahan said. “He’s our quarterback of the future. We made this decision based on what we think is best for him and it could be best for our organization. If he lights it up we’ve got a lot of options with Kirk. I hope that’s what happens.”
The Redskins don’t have a first-round draft pick in 2014, the final part of their trade with St. Louis that yielded them Griffin. They selected Cousins in the fourth round in 2012 and if they could land even a second-round choice for him then it would help this spring.
“Worst-case scenario, you have a very good backup quarterback or you have a guy you can get a lot for [in a trade],” Kyle Shanahan said. “When Kirk plays to his capabilities people will see he’s capable of being a starting quarterback. If he plays good enough, and helps this team with draft picks, which we don’t seem to always have too many of those, the more picks you can get the more it definitely would help us.”
Meanwhile, Kyle Shanahan said he was not consulted by his father about benching Griffin and did not like the move. Shanahan said his dad didn’t ask him because it was not considered a football decision, but one for the “future of the organization” to keep Griffin healthy. Shanahan said he learned of the final decision Wednesday morning, after drawing up game plans for both Cousins and Griffin.
“I made it clear I’m disappointed,” Kyle Shanahan said. “I’d like to finish this out. I take it personal I can’t finish the year with our starting quarterback. It would be good for Robert to get the reps, that will help him in the future but I do understand they have concerns that I don’t think about as much.
“I do agree if he did get hurt that would be devastating for him. It was really tough on him last year and it would be extremely tough on him this year. I don’t think in terms of that way. I think in terms of a football standpoint. That’s why I wish he was playing.”
- Covered the Redskins for the Washington Examiner and other media outlets since 1994
- Authored or co-authored three books on the Redskins and one on the Cleveland Browns