Kirk Cousins named Washington Redskins starting quarterback; RG3 to compete for second string

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WASHINGTON — Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has named Kirk Cousins the team’s starting quarterback for the 2015 NFL season. Cousins will replace former first-round draft pick Robert Griffin III as the Washington Redskins’ starter.

“I think all three quarterbacks should be commended for their efforts, their willingness to get better, but when it’s all said and done … we feel like at this time Kirk Cousins gives us the best chance to win,” Gruden said. “We believe in Robert. It’s a good problem to have to have three quarterbacks that are competing and working their butts off.”

Griffin, who is recovering from a concussion suffered in a preseason game, would be the Washington Redskins’ second or third string quarterback once he is cleared to play, Gruden said.

Cousins, who was drafted in the fourth round – 100 picks behind Griffin, has thrown 18 career touchdowns and 19 career interceptions.

“It’s a step in the process. It doesn’t feel like the finish line by any means,” Cousins said about being named the starter. “There’s something powerful about feeling believed in, and something powerful about knowing where you stand.”

As for his thoughts about teammate RG3?

“He remains classy, he works very, very hard, and I learn from that example,” Cousins said.

“Robert’s on our football team and he’s a Washington Redskin. We believe in Robert” Gruden said.  “It’s a good problem to have to have three quarterbacks that are competing and working their butts off. I feel like all three of them are capable quarterbacks. Some people say, ‘When you have three, you don’t have one.’ I disagree with that. We have three good quarterbacks that I feel good about. I just feel like Kirk right now gives us the best chance.”

Griffin was not available to the media this afternoon after the announcement was made.

Reports over the weekend claimed that Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, a longtime Griffin advocate, was one of the few voices in the front office against benching Griffin, something Gruden denied on Monday.

“Mr. Snyder has been nothing but supportive of this football team and everything we’re doing moving forward” Gruden said. “We kind of tell him what we’re thinking, how we’re feeling and he’s all for it. All Mr. Snyder wants to do is win. That’s the bottom line and there’s a lot of things being said that he’s pulling for this guy or this guy or that guy. That’s never been the case here. He wants us to win football games. (GM) Scot McCloughan, myself, (team president) Bruce [Allen], we’re all in the same boat. Our job is to put the best 53 men out there – our starting group, our backup group and that’s what we went with. Ultimately, as a football coach, it’s my call who starts and who doesn’t start. Basically, it’s my decision. I got the feedback from Bruce and Scot and we’re all together on it.”

The Redskins exercised a $16.1 million dollar option on Griffin’s contract back in the spring, one that can be rescinded and is only guaranteed if Griffin is injured. Gruden would not comment on any contract issues today.