Kirk Cousins said Wednesday that he is the Washington Redskins’ current starter at quarterback but, in his estimation, Robert Griffin III remains the team’s franchise quarterback.

“I think that, and I’ve said it since I’ve been here and I’ll say it again, I do believe that Robert is the franchise quarterback here in Washington,” Cousins said. “He was drafted number two overall. A lot of picks were traded to get him. I mean, common sense would say that this is his team. And I’ve never wanted to take that away from him or do anything to undermine his role. And I’ll say it again even as I start this week. I believe that at the end of the day this is Robert’s team going forward into next season.

“The reason they’re resting Robert is because this is Robert’s team and he is the franchise quarterback. You wouldn’t rest him if that wasn’t the case. So my job is to help this team get a win against Atlanta and then the last two weeks after that. But again, I’m gonna continue to try to excel in my role as the backup quarterback to Robert.”

Cousins is scheduled to make his second NFL start Sunday at Atlanta after Coach Mike Shanahan decided to sit down Griffin for the season’s final three games. The move comes amid a furor over the dynamics of the relationships between Griffin, Shanahan and Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, and with Shanahan thought by many observers both inside and outside the organization to be in the final stages of his coaching tenure with the team.

“I can’t control those circumstances,” Cousins said. “So I’m not gonna waste time or energy worrying about them or wishing they were different. It’s wasted energy. And I’ve got to devote all the energy I can to beating the Falcons. So I need to rise to the occasion, rise to the challenge, dig deep and hopefully have a good performance on Sunday no matter what the circumstances are.”

Cousins said he first was given the news Wednesday when he bumped into offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

“It wasn’t anything dramatic,” Cousins said. “I was just told by the coaches that I’d be going this week. And if that changes anything, then there’s something wrong with me because all these weeks my preparation should be as if I’m the starter. Certainly in human nature you’re gonna have a heightened sense of urgency now that you know. But it shouldn’t change anything that I’m doing this week to get ready.”

Cousins said that Griffin was “handling it with a lot of maturity.” He called Griffin’s demeanor “positive” and said that Griffin was “taking the high road,” in his view.

“I’m going to submit to the authorities above me and do what I’m coached to do and try to help this team win, whether as a starter, as a backup or whatever role I’m asked to take on,” Cousins said. “So my role this week is to be the starting quarterback. I’m gonna prepare as hard as I can to have success in that role.”

For the latest Redskins news today, click on this running story.

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