Robert Griffin III will be benched by coach Mike Shanahan in an attempt to prevent him from injury in the Washington Redskins’ final three meaningless regular season games, according to multiple reports.
Shanahan, whose future with the team is in question, posed the notion of replacing Griffin for backup Kirk Cousins earlier this week. Playing behind an offensive line that struggled to protect him, Griffin was sacked 24 times in the last five games and hit just as much, raising concerns about his health.
The NFL’s 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year did not participate in the preseason as he recovered from a torn ACL in his right knee, suffered in the Redskins’ playoff loss in January to the Seattle Seahawks.
A team source told ESPN on Tuesday that owner Dan Snyder would not intervene if Shanahan decided to sideline Griffin for Cousins, who also was selected by the Redskins in the 2012 draft, in the fourth round. Griffin was the No. 2 pick in the draft.
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Cousins played in three games last season, leading the Redskins to a victory over the Baltimore Ravens after Griffin left with an injury, and starting the following 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 Kansas City.
Washington (3-10) was humiliated, 45-10, by the Chiefs on Sunday, a loss that precipitated reports of a strained relationship between Griffin and Shanahan and his son, Kyle, the team’s offensive coordinator. Combined with the team’s abysmal play this season, the Shanahans’ future with the team has come under question.
Benching Griffin could be seen as a last-ditch effort by Shanahan to preserve his job.