Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan had plenty to say about the decision, explaining to the Atlanta media that the decision was based largely on preparing Griffin for next season.
Given the amount of hits the second year quarterback has taken so far this season, Shanahan wants Griffin to get a full off-season program while also giving Cousins experience as a starting quarterback.
“I thought it was in our best interest and the team’s best interest to make sure that (Griffin) gets through the offseason healthy,” he said. “And Kirk will go in there and do a great job. He’s played well for us, so it’ll be a chance for him to prove to us what’s he’s capable of.”
The Falcons are somewhat familiar with Cousins, as they faced him for much of the second half of last year's October matchup after Griffin was taken out of the game with a mild concussion. Atlanta, who went on to win the game, 24-17, now sees this as an advantage for when it faces him again this week as it will have film to look back on.
“Kirk is a strong armed quarterback,” Falcons head coach Mike Smith said after practice Wednesday. “We’ve had to switch gears here in the middle of the day in terms of our preparations but we went through that last week so we’re used to it.”
As for Cousins, who has played in just two games this season, the second year quarterback isn’t sure what his temporary starting role means for the future but maintains he’s solely focused on performing well the next three games.
“I’ve got a big job ahead of me, so I better be ready,” Cousins said. “It’s a great opportunity to see where I am as a quarterback and see where I need to develop.
“Its something I’ve been working for and preparing for; being ready when I’m called upon. It’s the first time I’ve had successive weeks where I know I’ll be playing.”