1. The Browns seem to have caught a big break because the Redskins announced Saturday night that rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, the second overall pick, is expected to be replaced in the starting lineup today by rookie Kirk Cousins, a fourth-round pick. Cousins, though, shouldn't be overlooked. After Griffin mildly sprained the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee, Cousins came to the rescue by throwing a touchdown pass and running for a two-point conversion to force overtime last week in the Redskins' 31-28 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
2. Today’s game features two of the NFL’s youngest offenses on the upswing after struggling earlier in the season. The Redskins (7-6) have won four in a row after losing three in a row. The Browns (5-8) opened the season 0-5 but are 3-1 since their bye week and have won three in a row entering their home finale. Both teams are still in the mix for a playoff berth but the Browns need to win their three final games of the season to remain in the wild-card hunt.
3. The Redskins outbid the Browns for the right to draft Griffin in April, but he wasn’t the only one who got away. The Browns also missed out in free agency on receivers Josh Morgan and former Mount Union standout Pierre Garcon, both of whom signed with the Redskins. Morgan left the San Francisco 49ers for a five-year deal worth $12 million over the first two years with $7.5 million guaranteed. Garcon left the Indianapolis Colts to sign a $42.5 million, five-year deal. “They lead the league in rushing, so [opponents] have to focus on that,” Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron said. “That gives [Morgan and Garcon] single coverage and they are good at exploiting it.”
4. Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress compared Redskins linebacker London Fletcher to a dinosaur: “He has been around forever,” Childress said. “I think I can remember competing against him on three different teams, back when he had three different names on the back of his jersey. It’s amazing that a guy playing that position could still be as effective as he is.” Fletcher, a Cleveland native who attended Villa Angela-St. Joseph High and John Carroll University, is in his 15th season in the NFL. An All-Pro in 2011, Fletcher has 109 tackles this season with a sack, a forced fumble and three interceptions. He will play his 238th consecutive game today, tied for the longest active streak in the NFL.
5. There are several coaching connections between the two teams. Redskins defensive line coach Jacob Burney spent two seasons (1994-95) in the same role with the Browns. … Redskins linebackers coach Bob Slowik spent the 1999 season as the Browns’ defensive coordinator. … Browns senior assistant/defensive coach Ray Rhodes was the Redskins’ defensive coordinator in 2000. … Browns players with Washington-area connections are Johnson Bademosi (native of Silver Springs, Md.), Josh Cribbs (native of Washington, D.C.), Joe Haden (native of Fort Washington, Md.), D’Qwell Jackson (played at University of Maryland), Ahtyba Rubin (born in Fort Belvoir, Va.), Phil Taylor (native of Clinton, Md.) and Usama Young (native of Largo, Md.).