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Redskins Opt to Start Backup Kirk Cousins Over RGIII

The Washington Redskins announced Saturday night that they have opted to start rookie backup Kirk Cousins over Robert Griffin III against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Griffin suffered a Grade 1 sprain of the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee after taking a hard hit from Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata in the fourth quarter of last Sunday’s game. Cousins replaced Griffin and threw a touchdown pass to get the Redskins within two points, and then ran a quarterback sneak for a two-point conversion. The Redskins won the game in overtime 31-28.

After Griffin and his teammates were informed of the decision at a team meeting Saturday night, Griffin vowed to be there for his teammates.

“The decision was not my own…,” Griffin tweeted. “But I will be there for my team!!! In every way I possibly can.”

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan was asked earlier Saturday if he had a feeling if Griffin would be the starter come said.

“No, Not really. We’ll get a chance to evaluate him and talk to doctors,” he told reporters.

Obviously, the doctors were not 100 percent comfortable with Griffin’s progress.

The Redskins regulated Griffin’s practicing capacity from Wednesday to Friday. Cousins received most of the practice reps with first team throughout the week, but Griffin is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.

The Redskins did not comment on whether Griffin would be active for the game, or whether Rex Grossman would serve as the primary backup to Cousins.  Grossman has been an inactive third-string quarterback for the entire season.

Cousins was drafted in the fourth round out of Michigan State by the Redskins. He made his first appearance against the Atlanta Falcons when Griffin sustained a concussion against them. He threw one touchdown pass and two fourth-quarter interceptions in a 24-17 loss.

The Browns will not be caught off-guard to see Cousins as the starter in Sunday’s game. They said earlier in the week that were preparing for both quarterbacks and would be ready for Cousins to run some the read-option offense that the Redskins run with Griffin.

Cousins will make his first-ever start as the quarterback for the Redskins, who look to continue their push into the playoffs. The Redskins were 3-6 before their bye week. They are one game behind the New York Giants and one game behind the front-runners for the NFC’s two wild-card berths.

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