Washington Redskins: Was Drafting QB Kirk Cousins Always a Contingency Plan?

John BibbAnalyst IIIJanuary 9, 2013

The Washington Redskins' top NFL Draft picks in 2012, Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins, during preseason practice.
The Washington Redskins' top NFL Draft picks in 2012, Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins, during preseason practice.Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In the 2012 NFL Draft it was no surprise when the Washington Redskins selected Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III after negotiating with the St Louis Rams and surrendering four top picks for the second-overall selection. Redskins fans rejoiced.  

When the team selected quarterback Kirk Cousins from Michigan State with their next pick in the fourth round, there was a sense of bewilderment and awe as to why the team would choose another highly regarded quarterback after securing their obvious starting quarterback in Griffin.

Was drafting Cousins a contingency plan for the Redskins should their latest acquisition and top-pick Griffin re-injure his knee—which sidelined him for all but three games his second season at Baylor in 2009? 

It is highly doubtful anyone within the organization would acknowledge this to be the case.  

According to ESPN, Griffin is projected to miss anywhere from six to eight months after undergoing surgery on Wednesday. Undoubtedly, this will be a loss to the team as Griffin will need offseason rest, rehabilitation and time to recuperate.

You can be certain after all of the criticism heaped upon coach Mike Shanahan and Griffin this week following the Wild Card game loss to the Seattle Seahawks that they will not even discuss a speedy recovery. 

I'm fairly certain they learned a lesson from the media and fan backlash they have sustained in the days following Griffin's injury.

The potential NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl selection will possibly be out of commission for most of the year, although the same ESPN report claims "he is expected to be ready for the opener of the 2013 NFL regular season."

To his credit as a stand-in quarterback, Cousins entered the game against the Baltimore Ravens and led the team to a come-from-behind tie and overtime win in Week 14 and led the 'Skins to victory the following week against the Cleveland Browns.  

Despite three interceptions in his limited game play, Cousins completed slightly less than 70 percent of his passes in his three appearances in 2012. Against the Browns, Cousins had impressive stats completing 26-of-37 passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns.  

His 104.4 passer rating against the Browns equaled RGIII's on the season. The 'Skins outscored the Browns 28-7 in the second half en route to their sixth straight win. Two-thirds of the teams offensive plays were passing situations.

Regardless of the answer to the question "why was Cousins selected," the answer is no longer important. At this moment the team is in a situation where they have a highly regarded quarterback ready and able to step in and allow Griffin to focus on his offseason recovery.  

That, in and of itself, makes a contingency plan seem like another insightful and strategical draft pick selection, almost as impressive as their sixth-round choice in running back Alfred Morris.

Whoever the Redskins are consulting as a psychic or whatever tea leaves they're reading, in hindsight, the 'Skins have come out on top. Let's just wish Griffin a not-so-speedy recovery but an effective and complete recovery so the team can build upon their success of the 2012 season.

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