Robert Griffin III spoke to the media Wednesday without much emotion, resigned to his surprising new role as the No. 3 quarterback for the Washington Redskins. Kirk Cousins will start for the next three weeks.
"I'm sure everyone knows by now coach decided to shut me down for the rest of the season," Griffin said. "I expressed my desire to play. ... He explained to me his reasoning, and at the end of the day, coach's decision is what we go by."
Coach Mike Shanahan said that he was benching Griffin in order to make sure he's healthy for the offseason. Some of Griffin's teammates questioned that reason to NFL Media's Jeff Darlington. Griffin was asked if he believed he was being benched for his own safety.
"In times like these, you have to lean on what you've been taught in life," Griffin said. "My parents, being two military parents, taught me to respect authority. I have to respect what coach says."
Cousins got to work Wednesday with news that he probably never expected to hear. He's starting even though Griffin has been healthy enough to start the last 13 weeks.
Cousins smartly wouldn't wade into the various stories about coach Mike Shanahan or Griffin that have surrounded the team. He's not politicking for a long-term job.
"Robert is the franchise quarterback here. This is his team," Cousins said. "My job is to help this team get a win."
Shanahan echoed the same sentiment when he spoke to the media. He said that his decision to bench Griffin was to protect the organization and its franchise quarterback.
Cousins credited RGIII for taking the high road Wednesday and staying positive through meetings. While Cousins spoke to the media, Griffin was still taking extra throws out on the practice field. One season after setting the league on fire, Griffin will finish this season on the sideline. The disappointment in his voice was apparent.
"Every player wants to play. I'm sure Matt Ryan wants to play," Griffin said. "Everybody wants to finish out the season with their teammates."