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Kirk Cousins doesn’t believe Robert Griffin III will be a distraction

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Kirk Cousins attempted to downplay how Robert Griffin III’s presence could serve as a distraction as he attempts to transition into the Washington Redskins’ starting quarterback position.

Cousins was anointed the team’s starter on Aug. 31 courtesy of an announcement by head coach Jay Gruden (who stated unequivocally “it’s Kirk’s team”). RG3 was bruised, battered and beaten before suffering a concussion in a preseason game against the Detroit Lions the previous week, meaning his availability in Week 1 already was in doubt. But Gruden unequivocally stated “it’s Kirk’s team” for 2015, setting into motion a rather bungled handling of the team’s most important position.

But the Redskins apparently intend to keep Griffin on the roster despite the potential problems his presence entails, although Cousins believes the now-benched quarterback will handle his demotion with poise.

“I think Robert, as an experienced player, knows how to handle the whole situation, the whole dynamic,” Cousins said Tuesday on D.C.’s 106.7 The Fan, as transcribed by CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I don’t see him being a distraction. He’s been very classy through this whole process. Both he and I have had ups and downs through the last three seasons, and I’ve learned through adversity and through success, that he’s handled things in a very classy way.”

Should Cousins struggle, there is the risk that fans will begin to clamor for RG3. After all, the most popular player on a disappointing team is the backup quarterback, especially one of Griffin’s potential and pedigree. Cousins says he cannot let that impact how he approaches his job.

Cousins also stated during the interview that he isn’t offended by the label of “game manager.” While that’s all well and good, any combination of ineffectiveness and absence of splashy plays could put Cousins in a tough spot … one tougher than the already-pressure-packed position he finds himself courtesy of how the dysfunctional Redskins completely bungled the changeover.