Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has seen enough from struggling QB Robert Griffin III this season.(Photo: Benny Sieu, USA TODAY Sports)
ASHBURN, Va. -- What Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan hinted Monday has become reality - star quarterback Robert Griffin III has been benched, and backup Kirk Cousins will start for the remainder of the season.
Cousins took the first-team snaps at Wednesday's practice while veteran Rex Grossman worked with the backups. Griffin was a spectator.
FTW: Pulling RG3 makes no sense
BELL: Shanahan's fate already seems sealed
Talk about an exit strategy. Benching RG3 appears like Shanahan's way of going out on his terms with an extremely provocative move. Could it incite owner Daniel Snyder to fire the coach? Shanahan has one season remaining on his contract and seems to be pouring gasoline on a raging Redskins tire fire by inviting a full-blown quarterback controversy.
Still, a source familiar with the move told USA TODAY Sports that Snyder would not overrule Shanahan's decision to shelve RG3. The person requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the decision.
Shanahan came to Washington with two Super Bowl rings as the Denver
Broncos head coach and a reputation as an offensive mastermind. But he's
looking at a third last-place finish in four seasons with the Redskins.
He's 24-38 with the Redskins, including one playoff loss after the team
won the NFC East in 2012. Shanahan's five-year contract is worth $35
Coming back from reconstructive knee surgery, Griffin has
not been the same player who won offensive rookie of the year honors
RG3 will be on the inactive list for the rest of the
season, a person familiar with the move told USA TODAY Sports on
Wednesday. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the
move has yet to be announced by the team.
Shanahan repeatedly mentioned Monday that the quarterback has been sacked 24 times in the team's last five losses.
it is the Shanahans, Mike and his son Kyle, the team's offensive
coordinator, who have had Griffin throwing 35 times a game this season
compared to 24.5 times per game last year.
Despite saying that RG3
is "100% healthy," Shanahan hinted Monday he would bench Griffin in
order to preserve his health. The quarterback has not yet had a full
offseason to master the team's offense after being forced to
rehabilitate his knee this year after he tore knee ligaments in
January's playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks.