Kirk Cousins (12) says he sees the need for the Redskins to keep playing Robert Griffin III down the stretch (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

Kirk Cousins, the second-year backup quarterback of the Washington Redskins, said Wednesday he understands the importance for the team to continue to play starter Robert Griffin III down the stretch this season.

“Robert’s a young player too,” Cousins said at Redskins Park. “He’s getting better and he’s learning and it doesn’t happen overnight. So to take him off the field so I can develop, then he’s not developing and obviously it’s a much bigger deal for him to get those reps than for me, being that he’s the starting quarterback. So it sounds nice to say that. But I think you’ve got to understand what that means for Robert. So I’ll roll with whatever they decide. But you’ve got to see it from both angles.”

Cousins’s comments came with some fans and media members calling for the Redskins to sit down Griffin and go with Cousins. Griffin, coming off knee surgery in January, has had his play closely scrutinized and widely criticized this season and the Redskins have a record of 3-9 and are eliminated from playoff contention.

Cousins said he’s had no conversations with Redskins coaches about the team turning to him at quarterback.

“It hasn’t come up,” he said. “I don’t anticipate it coming up. If it does, I’ll roll with it. But I haven’t had it [such a conversation] and don’t think it will happen.”

Cousins, who won a game at Cleveland last season as a rookie in his lone NFL start, has appeared in only one game this season, finishing a Redskins’ loss at Denver in late October. But he worked with the starting offense during offseason practices and during training camp and the preseason while Griffin was working his way back. Cousins said this season will have been a valuable learning experience for him even if he doesn’t get into another game.

“I’ve learned a lot, gotten a lot better, got a lot of reps in OTAs and minicamp, get a lot of mental reps each and every day,” Cousins said. “I try to make sure every day I’m getting better because everybody else is getting better in the league and for me to keep up I’ve got to make sure that I’m advancing.”

Cousins said he remains hopeful that his time to be an NFL starter will come, sometime and somewhere.

“I’d love a chance and I believe, like I’ve said before, that if I’m good enough, I’ll get that chance,” he said. “So I don’t need to force it to happen today or tomorrow. It may happen four or five years from now. But if it happens, it happens. And I’ll be patient and wait. And if I’m not good enough, I’ve got to live with that. So my job right now, rather than devote energy toward the future which I can’t live into yet, is to make sure that in the present I’m doing everything I can so that someday I am good enough to get that opportunity.

“And you dream about those opportunities. You dream about that second contract and being able to be a leader of a team and as a result of being a quarterback of an NFL team, you have a chance to really have a positive impact on a city, which would be a lot of fun too. So all those things come along with being a starting quarterback and my job is to make sure I’m working each and every day so that I’m good enough to get that opportunity someday.”

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.

What’s ahead:

● The Redskins practice Thursday at 11:50 a.m. Coordinators Kyle Shanahan and Jim Haslett are expected to speak with reporters afterward.

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