Rick Snider: Not really two of a kind but Griffin, Cousins inherently paired for Redskins

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For Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins, it was almost like being back in college.

Sure, the shared hotel room probably was nicer than their old dorms. But the late-night study sessions of the playbook during rookie minicamp -- fueled by burritos Griffin joked weren't shared -- must have felt familiar, though.

They're not best friends ... yet. The Washington Redskins' rookie quarterbacks figure to remain roommates during training camp and will spend most of their time together during the season.

"Robert's a likeable guy," Cousins said. "There's not a whole lot there to not like."

Said Griffin: "You know, there are no issues there. It's just we're both out here trying to get better. We're cool."

It only works well if the pecking order isn't heavy-handed. Griffin is the starter, while Cousins will compete with veteran Rex Grossman for the No. 2 role. Cousins must believe he has a chance to play, or the relationship will sour quickly.

"I can read between the lines and understand where I'm competing for," Cousins said. "Right now I'm just focusing on getting better, learning this offense and being a better quarterback. ... It's not about me. I have to put other people ahead of me."

Said Griffin: "I would never want to come out and say something like [who's the starter or backup]."

Cousins will become the Redskins' version of Gary Kubiak, whom Denver chose in the eighth round of the 1983 NFL Draft after trading for top overall selection John Elway. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan became a Denver assistant in 1984 and spent six seasons with the quarterbacks before later returning as the coach to win two Super Bowls with Elway.

Shanahan knows how invaluable having two quarterbacks grow together can be even if the second doesn't always get much work. Indeed, Kubiak was only 3-2 as a starter in nine seasons behind Elway.

Training camp will feature split squads during practice so both Griffin and Cousins can get more reps. Griffin will get eight of 10 snaps alongside fourth-stringer Jonathan Crompton, while Cousins and Grossman each will take five on another field. Come the regular season, Cousins will work little with regulars. Most of his snaps will come after practice or on Tuesdays, when reserves often meet on their day off.

"To make it in this league, period, you have to be someone that doesn't need a lot of reps," Cousins said. "You have to be able to improve off mental reps. You have to be able to do the drill work before the team and make the most of that. ... Whether or not I'm getting a ton of reps can't be my concern because there are a lot of guys in this league who have made it without a lot of reps."

Cousins will spend this week with high school friends running routes for him before he returns to Redskins Park to work out with veterans. Soon, the team will know whether its fourth-round pick was well spent.

Examiner columnist Rick Snider has covered local sports since 1978. Read more on Twitter @Snide_Remarks or email rsnider@washingtonexaminer.com.

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