Redskins rookie to back up Redskins rookie

September, 9, 2012
9/09/12
11:50
AM ET
NEW ORLEANS -- The Washington Redskins have announced their inactive players for Sunday's season opener against the Saints, and the surprise on the list is quarterback Rex Grossman, who started 13 of their games last year and was brought back this year, ostensibly, to back up rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. With Grossman inactive, Griffin's backup quarterback for the game will be fellow rookie Kirk Cousins, who was a surprise fourth-round draft pick and played well in the preseason.

Your question, I believe, is this: If he's not even the No. 2 quarterback, why is Grossman still on the team?

Fair question, and I think I can take a stab at the answer. Grossman knows the offense and ran it pretty well last year but for those 20 interceptions he somehow managed to throw in just 13 starts. A big part of the reason he's on the team is to help educate the rookies about the offense and how to run it. This is something he can do without being active for games, and so he's still able to fulfill what I believe is his primary responsibility.

My sense is that if Griffin had to miss several games due to injury, Grossman would still be a possibility to replace him as the starter. But if you're only talking about one game, and if Griffin had to come out for a few plays today for an injury, Cousins has played well enough so far that they feel fine about him taking his place for the day.

One surprise inactive for the Saints is starting cornerback Jabari Greer, who's recovering from sports-hernia surgery but had been hoping to play. Greer is New Orleans' best cornerback, and leaves them a bit more vulnerable in the secondary, assuming Griffin has enough time to throw.

The rest of the Redskins' inactives:

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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