After Sunday’s game, Cousins received a hug from Griffin, who plans to be back on the job this week, providing he is medically cleared. Although Cousins would prefer to remain atop the depth chart, he understands how this works. When the guy who has the NFL’s top-selling jersey is ready to return to work, every other quarterback on Washington’s roster must step aside.
Cousins, however, will stay ready until the last snap. He’s good at it.
The Post Sports Live crew debates whether Kirk Cousins’s 329-yard, 2 touchdown performance at Cleveland will play a factor for the Redskins in deciding who will play at Philadelphia.
In an overtime victory against the Ravens two weeks ago, Cousins came off the bench during the final two minutes of the fourth quarter after Griffin’s injury. Cousins ended the Redskins’ final drive of regulation with an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Pierre Garcon and then ran for a tying two-point conversion with 29 seconds remaining.
Shanahan was ripped by media and fans for drafting Cousins, but the past two games have validated the belief he has expressed publicly and privately in the team’s No. 2 quarterback. With a shortage of picks and cap space to improve the team, it just didn’t make sense to select two quarterbacks in one draft, Shanahan’s critics argued. But Shanahan has his quarterbacks. “You’re very happy,” Shanahan said, “that you’ve got two guys who can win for ya for a lot of years to come.”
Shanahan always listens when other teams call to make trade inquiries. That’s just due diligence. Surely, Shanahan would evaluate any offers made for Cousins.
But Shanahan isn’t interested in moving Cousins to help plug holes in the Redskins’ porous secondary. He’s thinking about what once happened to quarterbacks Phil Simms and Vinny Testaverde. In 1990, Simms was having one of his finest seasons for the New York Giants before breaking a foot late in the regular season, but the Giants still won the Super Bowl, in part, because backup quarterback Jeff Hostetler was good enough to start for a great team. The New York Jets weren’t as fortunate in 1999, when Testaverde suffered an Achilles’ tendon injury in the season opener and backup Rick Mirer showed he was best at holding a clipboard.
Cousins, who can become an unrestricted free agent after his fourth season, eventually might get tired of standing in Griffin’s large shadow and leave to lead a team of his own. For now, though, Cousins is in a good spot for the Redskins. And the plan is to keep him there.
For previous columns by Jason Reid, visit washingtonpost.com/reid.