QB con­ti­nu­ity

Cousins a rar­ity among NFL teams

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LANDOVER (AP) — For all the in­jury prob­lems and in­con­sis­tency the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins have en­dured this sea­son, they’re glad they’ve avoided quar­ter­back roulette.

Kirk Cousins has started every game for the Red­skins for the past three years, the po­lar op­po­site of their Week 16 op­po­nent, the Den­ver Bron­cos, since Pey­ton Man­ning re­tired.

Trevor Siemian has started 10 games, Brock Osweiler three and Pax­ton Lynch one for Den­ver this sea­son.

“I’ll tell you, it hasn’t been easy,” said Bron­cos coach Vance Joseph, who hasn’t an­nounced his Sun­day starter be­tween Osweiler and Lynch.

“When you have had three dif­fer­ent start­ing quar­ter­backs, ob­vi­ously you want one guy in there so you can have con­ti­nu­ity and you can have rhythm and a play se­lec­tion that ev­ery­one’s com­fort­able with. But when you’re play­ing three, it’s tough.”

Wash­ing­ton is one of just four teams in the NFL to start the same quar­ter­back in each game from 2015-17. In that time, Cousins has taken 98.4 per­cent of snaps, all but 49 re­served for Colt McCoy in games that were out of hand or car­ried no mean­ing.

“That’s one po­si­tion that you re­ally don’t want a lot of change dur­ing the sea­son,” Red­skins coach Jay Gru­den said. “We’ve been very for­tu­nate to keep him healthy and for him to stay healthy and for him to be able to be in the lineup this en­tire sea­son de­spite all the peo­ple that have changed around him.”

Cousins could be the first Red­skins quar­ter­back to start each game in three con­sec­u­tive sea­sons since Joe Theis­mann in the early 1980s. Of course he’s also the first NFL QB to play back-to-back sea­sons on the fran­chise tag, and his fu­ture is yet again un­cer­tain with the pos­si­bil­ity of an­other one-year deal in 2018.

“I’d like to think that the con­ti­nu­ity at the quar ter­back po­si­tion is al­ways pre­ferred,

but it’s not a lux­ury that you have at all times,” said Cousins, who’s on his way to a third 4,000-yard pass­ing sea­son in a row. “I would like to hope and be­lieve that we can con­tinue to have con­ti­nu­ity, but time will tell.”

Cousins doesn’t ex­pect to let his mind wan­der much Sun­day af­ter­noon dur­ing what could be his fi­nal home game with the Red­skins (68) be­cause he has been on open-ended one-year deals be­fore.

It’s eas­ier said than done as front of­fices and fan bases around the league con­sider what it would be like to have some­one as durable and de­pend­able as Cousins. Gru­den would rather not think about it as he re­mem­bers Cousins, McCoy and Robert Grif­fin III split­ting games in 2014 and what it did for prepa­ra­tion and game-plan­ning.

“It was pretty dis­rup­tive,” Gru­den said. “We try to keep a core group of plays that guys are com­fort­able with and try to stick to those. When you have a lot of change, you don’t add a lot of new things for each in­di­vid­ual quar­ter­back, but you try to keep the core con­cepts in there and let them all try to work with those.”

Mired in change all sea­son, quar­ter­backs for the Bron­cos (5-9) said they’re not both­ered by the un­cer­tainty and have been sup­port­ive of who­ever gets the nod.

“It’s been a roller­coaster,” Osweiler said. “There are a lot of things that take place in this busi­ness that you can’t con­trol. I think the sooner you learn that, the bet­ter mind­set you’ll have to­ward sit­u­a­tions like this.”

Some things to watch when the Bron­cos visit the Red­skins:

BIBBS’ CHANCE: Kapri Bibbs is the Red­skins’ sev­enth run­ning back this sea­son and will get a chance to face the Bron­cos, where he played from 2014-16 be­fore a trade to the San Fran­cisco 49ers. The 24-year-old for­mer Colorado State star scored on a 36-yard screen pass last week and gives Wash­ing­ton an in­ter­est­ing 1-2 punch with rookie Sa­maje Per­ine.

“Per­ine and our guy we had here, Bibbs, is do­ing

a good job,” Joseph said. “Per­ine is a tough down­hill run­ner that we have to gang­tackle him to get him on the ground.”

WE’RE NO. 1: When the Bron­cos fell out of play­off con­tention, Joseph told play­ers that while their record doesn’t mat­ter, they’d like to fin­ish as the league’s top de­fense. That’s where they’re at, al­low­ing 276.8 yards a game.

“That’s some­thing that we take pride in around here,” nose tackle Do­mata Peko said. “We’re def­i­nitely go­ing to fin­ish strong and try to be No. 1 in all the cat­e­gories.”

NO TRENT: The Red­skins are fi­nally shut­ting down Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Wil­liams, who has been deal­ing with a right knee in­jury that will re­quire surgery. De­spite the in­jury,

Wil­liams earned praise from Bron­cos line­backer Von Miller for be­ing a “beast” and a “sil­ver­back.”

Ty Nsekhe is ex­pected to start in place of Wil­liams again.

“It’s time to look­ing for­ward to get­ting healthy,” Wil­liams said.

RUN, RUN C.J.: Wash­ing­ton’s 28th-ranked run de­fense is a nice op­por­tu­nity for Bron­cos run­ning back C.J. An­der­son to build off his 158-yard per­for­mance last week against the In­di­anapo­lis Colts. An­der­son needs 142 in Den­ver’s fi­nal two games to reach 1,000 in a sea­son for the first time in his pro ca­reer.

“I’m on track,” An­der­son said. “I just think it’s a good mile­stone for my­self, but also for up front and our team as a whole.”

AP PHOTO

Wash­ing­ton Red­skins quar­ter­back Kirk Cousins (8) turns out of the pocket dur­ing the sec­ond half against the Ari­zona Cardinals in Landover on Sun­day, Dec 17.

AP PHOTO

Wash­ing­ton Red­skins quar­ter­back Kirk Cousins (8) passes the ball dur­ing the sec­ond half against the Ari­zona Cardinals on Sun­day, Dec. 17, in Landover.

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