Source: Cousins to start in place of RG III

Updated: December 11, 2013, 9:40 AM ET

John Keim |

Kirk Cousins will replace Robert Griffin III as the Washington Redskins‘ quarterback Sunday when they face the Atlanta Falcons, a high-ranking team official confirmed to

NFL Network had earlier reported that Cousins would start at quarterback.

Coach Mike Shanahan had said Monday that if he decided to sit Griffin this week, the quarterback also would stay on the sidelines for the remainder of the season for the last-place Redskins (3-10).

Shanahan raised the possibility Monday of benching Griffin for the last three games, citing 24 sacks in the past five games and the desire to keep him healthy for the offseason after the quarterback’s offseason work was compromised this season due to a major knee injury suffered in the team’s playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks in January.

A team source on Tuesday had said owner Dan Snyder would not intervene if Shanahan decided to make the switch at quarterback.

Cousins was the second quarterback the Redskins took in the 2012 draft, going to Washington in the fourth round after the team took Griffin No. 2 overall. He appeared in three games last year, leading the Redskins to a victory over the Baltimore Ravens after Griffin left with an injury and starting the next week against the Cleveland Browns, another Redskins victory. He finished the season with 466 yards on 33 of 48 passing with four touchdowns and three interceptions.

He has appeared in two games this season, including in a mop-up role last Sunday in a blowout loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Shanahan, whose job security has been a topic of widespread scrutiny, said Monday he spoke with Snyder that morning, and that if he does switch quarterbacks, he’d discuss it first with the owner.

As for Shanahan’s future with the Redskins, team sources said Tuesday that everything is “status quo.” His status for next season entering last weekend was questionable. It was downgraded to doubtful after an report Sunday detailing his displeasure over the nature of the Griffin-Snyder relationship.

Washington was trounced 45-10 by the Chiefs later Sunday, a loss which followed a number of stories in recent weeks discussing the nature of Shanahan’s relationship with Griffin as well as that of his son, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, and Griffin.

Sunday’s events led to Snyder contemplating his options regarding Shanahan. One team source described Snyder as bewildered by the original report. And it was clear that Snyder had no intention before this point of firing Shanahan before the end of the season.

Shanahan has one year and $7 million left on his contract. The Redskins are 24-37 under Shanahan and clinched their third double-digit loss season in his four years as coach.

  • 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

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