Washington Redskins Kirk Cousins Should Start As Quarterback Instead Of Robert Griffin III Sunday In Cleveland

11:53 AM, Dec 10, 2012   |    comments
Cousins has played under pressure and can handle one start in Cleveland (US Presswire)
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WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- There will never be a quarterback controversy as long as Robert Griffin III is in town. He's obviously become one of the most irreplaceable talents in the NFL, giving the Redskins a chance to win any game they compete in.

Call me outlandish, but here are several reasons why I would be against the Redskins rushing Griffin out there this Sunday in Cleveland.

1) The option offense won't be nearly as effective if Griffin is not 100 percent

The Redskins use the pistol formation on more than half of their offensive snaps. Why? Because it's a three-headed monster: one third is Alfred Morris, one third is play action passing and the other third is just the threat of RGIII taking off and scrambling. Without the possibility of Griffin running full speed to the outside, it will be easy for the linebackers and safeties not to get fooled by this offense. Kyle Shanahan would have to call things a lot more conservatively, something he is absolutely terrible at.

2) The Browns organization strongly dislikes Robert Griffin and the Redskins

Cleveland put the same trade offer on the table as the Redskins proposed to the Rams, and clearly got the short end of the stick. Browns players won't admit to the media they are jealous of Washington's franchise quarterback, but they 100 percent are. If Griffin does end up playing, I bet Cleveland treats him rough and goes after his right knee. There's nothing more they'd like to see than the Redskins miss the playoffs. 

3) Washington will play with an even greater sense of urgency if Cousins starts

Griffin's presence (when fully mobile) raises the talents of the entire offense. But Sunday's game in Cleveland has complacency written all over it. The Redskins haven't played a clearly weaker opponent on the road since week two in St. Louis. It feels strange to write this, but I'd almost guarantee a more focused team with Cousins behind center, playing inspired football. It would give the Redskins a chance to prove that they aren't a one-man-team. And as Lorenzo Alexander told me Sunday in the locker room, "We are rolling on all cylinders that it won't matter who starts in Cleveland."

4) The Redskins have used backup quarterbacks in their last two playoff runs

We all remember Todd Collins epic transformation of the team in 2007. But what you probably don't recall is Patrick Ramsey's humongous impact on the 2005 playoff run. In the second to last game of the season, Mark Brunell went down in the third quarter with a knee strain in a do-or-die game against the Giants. In came Ramsey, who went 5-for-7, for 104 yards and touchdown, guiding Washington to a 35-20 victory. Backup quarterbacks in this town have delivered like Santa Claus in past Decembers, and this 2012 season could end up pretty similar.

5) The obvious one: make sure RGIII is healthy for the playoffs and long term future

Any further damage to that right knee will end the Redskins season and make the 2013 offseason a tumultuous one. Even with the season on the line, it's not worth rushing back the franchise quarterback with all of the circumstances listed above. And I've yet to even mention that Cousins guy is no slouch himself. The reason Mike Shanahan burned a fourth-round pick on Cousins is for weeks like this. Imagine what a week of preparation will do for Captain Kirk?