Jay Gruden declares Kirk Cousins, not Robert Griffin III, as Redskins’ 2015 starter

Kirk Cousins (8) greets Robert Griffin III before Washington's preseason game against Baltimore on Saturday.

Kirk Cousins (8) greets Robert Griffin III before Washington’s preseason game against Baltimore on Saturday.

(Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

Washington Redskins Coach Jay Gruden has named his Week 1 starting quarterback.

And it’s not the guy he said it was going to be six months ago.

“Kirk Cousins will be the starter for 2015, moving forward,” Gruden told reporters on Monday morning.

Back in February, Gruden announced that Robert Griffin III would be the team’s starting quarterback “moving forward,” despite being benched late in the season for his shaky play.


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A lot has happened since then. The Redskins picked up Griffin’s fifth-year, $16-million option for 2016 in April, but that money is guaranteed only if he’s injured.

Then came the preseason. Griffin left an exhibition game against Detroit with what Gruden later called a concussion. The team announced Thursday that Griffin had been cleared to play against Baltimore over the weekend, then reversed that decision the following day.

NFL independent neurologist Robert Kurtzke was quoted in a statement released by the Redskins as saying that Griffin “should be held from game play this weekend and be retested in one [to] two weeks before a firm conclusion to return to game play can be made.”

So that left Griffin’s status for the start of the regular season up in the air anyway. Plus, Cousins simply has outplayed Griffin this preseason, completing 40 of 53 passes for 435 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for a 103.9 passer rating.

Griffin is six of 13 for 44 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions for a 54.6 passer rating. Veteran Coly McCoy has also put up good numbers in the preseason, completing 19 of 24 passes for 208 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 142.4 passer rating.

“I think all three quarterbacks should be commended for their efforts, their willingness to get better, but when it’s all said and done, all of the film that we’ve gone through, all of the offseason activity, all the training camp footage, we feel like, at this time, Kirk Cousins gives us the best chance to win,” Gruden said Monday. “And that’s where we’re going.”

He added: “It’s Kirk’s team.”