So That’s Why the Washington Redskins Selected Kirk Cousins

By Greg Bradshaw
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In 2011, the production that the Washington Redskins received at the quarterback position was virtually nonexistent.  Quarterbacks Rex Grossman and John Beck were under center for the Redskins in 2011. They were also the main reasons why Washington spent an arm and a leg in draft picks to secure the selection of quarterback Robert Griffin III in the 2012 NFL draft.

Needless to say, neither Grossman nor Beck figure prominently in Washington’s plans in 2012. Beck is no longer with the team while Grossman’s current responsibilities with the Redskins involve keeping a clean uniform and making sure that the clipboard he’s holding has enough paper in it.

After selecting Griffin III, the Redskins added some intrigue with the selection of Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins in the fourth round. Washington went from having a quarterback carousel in 2011 to a potential quarterback controversy in 2012. While Cousins was efficient as a collegiate quarterback, Griffin III was the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner while attending Baylor University. Heisman trophy winners entering the NFL draft the following year usually have a better opportunity to start for their new teams.

Of course, Griffin III was afforded that opportunity by the Redskins, and he has paid major dividends. His strong arm and dynamic running style support the previous claim. However, Griffin III, or “RG3” as he’s known to Redskins fans, plays a style that leaves him susceptible to injury. If he goes down to injury, Washington head coach Mike Shanahan needs a capable backup to lead the offense.

That’s exactly what happened in the Redskins’ Week 14 game against the Baltimore Ravens. Griffin III was taken out of the game for the day with a sprained right knee suffered on a scramble out of the pocket. That meant it was time for Cousins to come in. While he’s not as dynamic as RG3, Redskins fans don’t seem to care about that. Cousins took care of the ball and led Washington to a come from behind victory over the Ravens.

Does Cousins’ performance against the Ravens create a quarterback controversy in D.C.? In two words: absolutely not. The quarterback job is Griffin III’s for many years to come. However, Cousins’ performance against Baltimore has vindicated the Redskins’ front office for his selection in the 2012 draft. Cousins also provides a little clarity as a reserve quarterback, which ensures the position can remain solid for years to come.

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