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Browns know Kirk Cousins as well as RG3, and they will prepare for both

Dec 10, 2012 -- 4:17pm

By Tony Grossi

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Extra Points …

RG3 hysteria: The second most important man in our nation’s capital is “day to day” for the Browns’ game Sunday in Cleveland.

Washington franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III has a Grade 1 sprain of the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee, coach Mike Shanahan said on Monday. There is no structural damage to the knee, the coach said, and Griffin will wear a brace when he practices. Shanahan would not speculate on his practice timetable.

“He is definitely not ruled out for the Cleveland game,” Shanahan said.

Griffin hurt the knee when he hit Baltimore’s Haloti Ngata at the end of a scramble with 1:48 to play in regulation. Griffin’s leg whipped into Ngata as Griffin ducked to avoid the impact of the 340-pound tackle. His right knee hyperextended. Griffin left for one play, returned for three plays, then crumpled to the ground when the knee locked up.

Fellow rookie Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin, finished the TD drive and scored on a two-point conversion to send the game into overtime. The Redskins (7-6) kept alive their playoff hopes by winning with a field goal, 31-28.

The Redskins have won four in a row and are one game behind the (8-5) New York Giants in the NFC Eas. They trail (8-5) Chicago and (8-5) Seattle in the NFC wild card race.

Thus, it’s a huge game for the Redskins, and Shanahan is not going to tip his hand early in the week on who will be his quarterback.

Asked if the Browns’ uncertainty of whom to prepare for gives him an advantage, Shanahan didn’t pause.

“Sure it does,” he said.

Kissing Cousins: The Browns finished second to the Redskins in the RG3 trade sweepstakes with the St. Louis Rams, of course. So they know all about Griffin’s wondrous athleticism. But they also are quite familiar with Cousins, whom the Redskins surprisingly took in the fourth round to serve as Griffin’s main caddy.

“I really studied up on Cousins, being a Michigan State guy,” Shurmur said. “I knew a lot about him. He was one of the most outstanding people you’re ever gonna meet in the draft. We liked him quite a bit. He’s a legitimate NFL quarterback. The fact he came in and had success doesn’t surprise me.”

Griffin leads all NFL quarterbacks with a rating  of 104.2. He has 18 touchdowns v. four interceptions. He’s also 20th in the NFL in rushing with 748 yards and six TDs on the ground.

Shurmur maintains the uncertainty of Griffin v. Cousins will not hold up the Browns’ preparations.

“We have to prepare for their offense,” Shurmur said. “They have some elements of option football. They have elements of drop-back pass. They’re an off-tackle zone running team. And they do have their wrinkles. We cannot stop the preparation worrying about who’s gonna play. Because I’m sure there’s elements of drop-back football and option game that both the quarterbacks can execute.”

My hunch is that Griffin will not play. The Redskins finish at Philadelphia and at home v. Dallas.

On that challenge: Shurmur said he doesn’t regret blowing a timeout by challenging the spot on Josh Cribbs’ Wildcat run on the first possession of the second half against the Chiefs. Cribbs tried to reach the ball over the goal after a 12-yard run, but officials ruled his knee was down at the 1.

“I challenged that call because I did think, based on the replay I saw, and then, of course, ending up getting instruction from the press box, that he got in,” Shurmur said. “Also, I wanted Josh to have the touchdown. So I thought that was worth it. We saw when (the Chiefs) got the ball to the 3-yard line, they didn’t score. So it’s never a guarantee. So when it’s that close, I think it’s worth it.”

Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com.

He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 44 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to tgrossi@espncleveland.com

Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi

 

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