“You can see through preseason that this guy earned the right to be the backup quarterback,” Shanahan said. “Being a backup quarterback, you get a chance to dress. You’re one play away from being in the game. You have to prepare yourself that the quarterback could go down on the first play and you have to step in and get the job done. He’s done that each and every week.”
Cousins is not flawless; he threw two interceptions, along with a touchdown, when he replaced Griffin, who had suffered a concussion, in Week 5 against Atlanta.
The Redskins don’t expect to know about Griffin’s availability for the game until later this week, but until then, they will develop game plans for both Griffin and Cousins. As Griffin works his way back, it is expected that Cousins will work with the first team in case he has to start or play Sunday.
“I have to approach it like I have since day one, when I came here in May,” Cousins said. “That is to think like I am the starter and prepare like I am the starter and if my number is called I am prepared to go, and if not, I am still ready to go.”
Cousins and Griffin’s other teammates are praying for a swift recovery as well. But because of their confidence in Cousins, they would rather see their quarterback remain sidelined this week rather than return prematurely and risk long-term damage.
“His health is far more important than any game we will play this season,” left tackle Trent Williams said. “His well-being is the only thing he should be worried about at this time. It really isn’t worth injuring more if he is at risk.”
“Cousins is a really good quarterback,” Williams added later. “Let’s get that out the way. He can run this offense just as well as anyone else can. Of course he doesn’t have the dynamic 4.3 speed at the quarterback position, but he is a smart quarterback, and as you can see, he came in off the bench, not much game experience in the season at all, and he still led us to a touchdown and a two-point conversion and ultimately the game-winning field goal.”