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Thom Loverro: Call this what it is for Redskins: A quarterback controversy

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,Thom Loverro

Don't believe the hype.

There's a quarterback controversy in Washington.

It's Robert Griffin III vs. Kirk Cousins.

I love RGIII. I love Kirk.

No one is printing bumper stickers yet -- at least not that I know of. But to deny the existence of at least the roots of a Redskins quarterback controversy means you aren't paying attention.

If many in the media are spending days saying there is no Redskins quarterback controversy, then there is a quarterback controversy. And I'm not even including ESPN's Skip Bayless, a voice so shrill and irrelevant that dogs can't even hear it.

If this is happening after the second preseason game because the rookie quarterback taken in the fourth round put up more impressive numbers against the Chicago Bears' backups than the No. 2 overall pick did against the starters -- no matter that the Redskins traded three first-round picks and a second for the opportunity to select the Heisman Trophy winner in the NFL Draft -- then you have a quarterback controversy.

If the so-called backup quarterback spends his time declaring to the media that there is no quarterback controversy, there is a quarterback controversy.

"I think that this is Robert's team," Cousins told reporters Monday at Redskins Park. "The coaches have made that very clear. It's my job to do the best I can in my situation and in my opportunities. And that's what I'm trying to do."

He tried to do that by completing 18 of 23 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-31 loss to Chicago. He did so following a far less impressive performance by RGIII, who went 5-for-8 for 49 yards and no touchdowns.

After Cousins put on this show, Bears analyst Jim Miller declared a brewing quarterback controversy in Washington.

"Kirk Cousins, let's put it this way," Miller said. "I hate quarterback controversies, but after how [Cousins has] played so far, people are going to say that."

Miller may be clueless about the Redskins. And he may have a horse in the race in Cousins, a fellow Michigan State alumnus. But Miller knows about preseason football and quarterback controversies; he was an NFL backup who played himself into those controversies.

There were fans in this town who thought there was a quarterback controversy when Colt Brennan was around. Cousins isn't some obscure gimmick quarterback who played on an island. Fans were well aware of Cousins and his impressive career at Michigan State before he was drafted. This isn't Pincus McCoy from Bugtussle State.

Mike Shanahan may stick needles in his eyes before he entertains the notion of Cousins over RGIII. And I do believe RGIII will be a successful NFL quarterback.

But a repeat Saturday night before the hometown fans with the Colts and Andrew Luck in town and the noise will grow. In this day and age, you can't ignore the noise.

Examiner columnist Thom Loverro is the co-host of "The Sports Fix" from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on ESPN980 and espn980.com. Contact him at tloverro@washingtonexaminer.com.

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