The Washington Redskins on Monday named Kirk Cousins as their starting quarterback for the 2015 National Football League season, the latest signal that former standout Robert Griffin III could be on his way out.
Griffin, a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, has struggled for the Redskins since injuring his knee in a January 2013 playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks that required surgery and extensive rehabilitation.
There has been growing speculation that Griffin is no longer wanted by the Redskins front office but coach Jay Gruden said on Monday that the team still had belief in the quarterback.
“I like Robert as a quarterback,” Gruden said during a news conference. “His future with the Washington Redskins is what it is. There have been no discussions of letting him go or any of that stuff.
“Kirk has done an outstanding job, Robert’s done some great things, no question we have total faith in all three of them,” Gruden added, referring to quarterbacks Cousins, Griffin III and Colt McCoy.
Griffin, who played for Baylor University where he won the 2011 Heisman Trophy as the most outstanding college football player, was named the team’s starter at quarterback in February.
However, he was scratched on the eve of a pre-season game against the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday after being evaluated by independent league neurologists following a concussion he suffered 11 days ago against the Detroit Lions.
Cousins, who got the start in place of Griffin, impressed against the Ravens and went on to complete 20-of-27 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder.
“All three quarterbacks should be commended for their efforts, their willingness to get better,” Gruden said after team practice at Redskins Park.
“But when it’s all said and done after all the film that we’ve gone through, all the offseason activity, all the training camp footage, we feel that at this time, Kirk Cousins gives us the best chance to win … it’s Kirk’s team.”
Cousins, 27, a fourth-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, has completed a combined 40-of-53 passes for 435 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in three pre-season games.
He will start for the Redskins when their season begins against the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 13.
Griffin, 25, took part in non-contact drills on Monday but remains in the league’s concussion protocol and will not play in Washington’s final preseason game on Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.