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Unless RG3 is 100 percent, McCoy to start at quarterback for Redskins against Cowboys

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ASHBURN, Virginia — If Robert Griffin III is completely ready, he'll start for the Washington Redskins against the Dallas Cowboys next Monday night.

If he's not, Colt McCoy — rather than Kirk Cousins — will be Washington's quarterback.

"Robert has to, first of all, be honest with himself and how he's feeling," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said Monday.

Griffin, the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, has been sidelined since dislocating his left ankle in Week 2 against Jacksonville.

"I wouldn't rule him out. He's got a way's to go to show that he can play, show that that ankle's 100 percent. That's the big thing," Gruden said. "He's got to be 100 percent ready to go. We don't want to put him out there at 85 percent and have it be weak and have him do something else to it. We want to make sure he's ready to go if he's out there."

At practice last Wednesday, Griffin threw passes in individual and 1-on-1 drills for the first time since his latest injury.

On Sunday, before Washington's 19-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans, Griffin was out on the field, taking snaps and throwing passes.

Cousins, who took over as the starter during Griffin's absence, was benched at halftime after his 10th and 11th turnovers of the season, and McCoy led the comeback that ended a four-game losing streak for the Redskins (2-5).

A series of decisions will need to be made for Griffin to return. First, the team trainer and doctors will need to give the go-ahead.

Then Griffin will need to say OK, after figuring out, according to Gruden, "Can he cut without pain? Can he run without pain? Is he full speed? Is it sturdy enough?"

"And if he says, 'Yes,' then I have to feel comfortable about putting Robert out there in the game," Gruden explained. "We'll go through that process."

PHOTO: Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, left, sits on the bench with quarterback Colt McCoy and quarterback Robert Griffin III, right, during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, in Landover, Md. The Redskins won 19-17. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, left, sits on the bench with quarterback Colt McCoy and quarterback Robert Griffin III, right, during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, in Landover, Md. The Redskins won 19-17. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

If, instead, McCoy begins the game against NFC East leader Dallas (6-1), it would be his first NFL start since December 2011, when he was with the Cleveland Browns.

"He does have great intangibles, in my mind. He's very poised. He's a great competitor. And I feel like he's going to get us in the right play and make the right throw," Gruden said about McCoy.

"He's had some opportunities to succeed in the past as a starter, and had some rough patches. But he's here for a reason. And I've always liked his demeanor."

After the Redskins' home crowd booed the team off the field at halftime, with the Titans leading 10-6, McCoy took over at quarterback, and his first pass, a simple curl route, was turned into a 70-yard touchdown by Pierre Garcon.

It was McCoy's first NFL pass attempt in nearly a year, his first TD toss since December 2012 with Cleveland, and the longest scoring throw of a career that began as a third-round draft pick out of Texas in 2010.

In all, he was 11 for 12 for 128 yards against the Titans.

"I like Jay a lot, and when Jay came and told me to be ready to play, I just didn't want to let him down," McCoy said Sunday. "If he goes with you, and you go in and turn the ball over, and don't start fast, or don't win the game, or don't play well, that just doesn't look good."

Notes: LB Brian Orakpo will miss the rest of the season because of a torn right pectoral muscle. "That'll be a big loss," Gruden said. Orakpo, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, had a half-sack this season but Gruden said he's been "very good against the run."


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