Kirk Cousins could bolster Kyle Shanahan's reputation

  • By Kareem Copeland
  • Around the League Writer
  • Updated: Dec. 16, 2012 at 09:45 a.m.

The Washington Redskins are in must-win mode as they attempt to chase down a playoff spot. They'll kickoff Sunday with rookie quarterback Kirk Cousins making his first career start against the Cleveland Browns.

The play of Cousins could have a significant impact on the future of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi said Sunday on "First on the Field." Shanahan has to get a lot of credit for the development of Rookie of the Year candidate Robert Griffin III. The No. 2 overall pick came into the NFL with incredible skills and maturity, but Shanahan adapted the offense to best utilize the Heisman Trophy winner.

A successful outing by Cousins could signal to the rest of the NFL that Shanahan is ready for his first head coaching opportunity. Preparing another rookie to play on a week's notice in a pressure situation would certainly be something to put on the resume.

Shanahan first was offensive coordinator for the Houston Texans from 2008-09 before being hired by his father, Mike Shanahan, for the same position in D.C.