Rick Snider: Redskins' quarterback situation no longer hairy

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,Rick Snider

ASHBURN

A bad haircut was about the only thing that has gone wrong for the Washington Redskins quarterbacks this week.

Robert Griffin III looked ready to return from his sprained knee after taking full reps with starters Wednesday. Backup Kirk Cousins lessened any angst about Griffin's status against Philadelphia on Sunday with solid outings the last two weeks. The red alert around Redskins Park has been canceled.

Indeed, the only setback was for Cousins' hair. He spoke to the media sporting a nearly shaved head and the newfound knowledge that he has a receding hairline. It turns out there was a language barrier with a barber. Cousins can speak "NFL-ese" while dodging 300-pound defenders but can't get across "a little off the top" to someone coming at him with scissors.

Cousins apologized to his family for his appearance while bemoaning that he inherited his father's baldness. He certainly isn't sorry he made Griffin's status nearly irrelevant.

Cousins' haircut was trending on Twitter, though he may be fading from the limelight. Absent Griffin's knee swelling up Thursday, he probably will play. It's still a doctor's decision, but if coach Mike Shanahan, the king of misdirection, is open about Griffin's status, then it's nearly certain the quarterback will play.

"I'm ready to play," Griffin said. "I always expect to play."

Last week, it was hard to read Shanahan on Griffin's readiness. The coach loves skullduggery. But Shanahan dropped the misdirection speak Wednesday. There was more uncertainty about center Will Montgomery's sprained knee than Griffin's.

Griffin's throws showed a little more zip after a week off. The rookie seemed refreshed. The bottom line: He's fine.

Certainly, Cousins dampened the hysterics about Griffin's availability after his relief victory over Baltimore and standout play in the 38-21 win over Cleveland. The Redskins suddenly have a backup who may be better than some starters. Cousins isn't better than Griffin, but he's good enough to inspire confidence that the team's late playoff run won't be derailed if he has to play.

The odd part is that while the quarterbacks' styles differ, the Redskins largely ran the same offense against Cleveland. Once Washington abandoned the pocket after four series, Cousins began making plays on the outside. Suddenly, the offense looked similar to previous weeks with its downfield plays and 38 points.

"It's just plays out of different formations," Griffin said.

Cousins led the Redskins to their fifth straight win and control of the NFC East. Washington can clinch a playoff spot with a win and losses by Minnesota, Chicago and the New York Giants on Sunday. The Redskins will take the division by beating Philadelphia and Dallas the last two weeks.

And they will do it behind Griffin.

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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