Cousins in action against the Bears Aug. 18 in Chicago. (Jonathan Newton/WASHINGTON POST)

Update: 3:27 p.m.: Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said after practice Monday that Cousins will start Wednesday night’s game against Tampa Bay. Shanahan declined to say how long Cousins will play.


Rookie Kirk Cousins could be in line to start at quarterback for the Washington Redskins in Wednesday night’s preseason finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedEx Field. That seems to be what Cousins is expecting.

“I think there’s a high probability I would start and plan to play about a half and obviously keep an open mind as to what they [the coaches] want to do once the game gets going and be ready to react accordingly,” Cousins said Monday at Redskins Park.

Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan has said the team’s rookie starting quarterback, Robert Griffin III, won’t play against the Buccaneers. Griffin’s next appearance is scheduled for the Sept. 9 regular season opener at New Orleans.

Cousins, a fourth-round draft pick in April out of Michigan State, had an eye-catching outing when he threw for 264 yards and three touchdowns while playing the entire second half of the Redskins’ second preseason game at Chicago. Now he hopes to end the four-game exhibition season on another high note.

“I want to have a sharp performance,” Cousins said. “I want to show the coaches what I’m capable of and show the rest of the NFL as well what I’m capable of. But I think as important as playing well, the opportunity to play gives me a great opportunity to learn and to grow and to have that game film of myself playing to be able to go back and evaluate. And that in and of itself is a major benefit.”

Cousins played little in last Saturday’s third preseason game at home against the Indianapolis Colts. Griffin played into the third quarter and veteran Rex Grossman, who did not play against the Bears, took over and completed all eight of his passes. Grossman threw two touchdown passes against the Colts and had a perfect passer rating of 158.3 before Cousins finished up, failing to complete his only pass.

Grossman, not Cousins, seems more likely to be the primary backup to Griffin entering the regular season, given his experience. But Cousins has provided reasons for optimism about his NFL future. And now he could get the feeling of being an NFL starter, albeit in merely the final preseason game with little at stake and few, if any, regular starters likely to be on the field.

“I don’t think the preparation changes,” Cousins said. “But I do think that it carries a different feeling when you’re heading to the stadium knowing that you’ll take the first snap. That’s the feeling that I had the last three years in college. And so it’s been a little different to not have that feeling in the first three preseason games. . .Whether you start, finish or play in the middle, you just want to play as well as you can in that opportunity that you get.”

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