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Jay Gruden insists Washington handled RGIII's concussion 'by the book'

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Gruden blamed the controversy on miscommunication with the NFL-assigned independent neurologist and denied it was a conspiracy to remove Griffin from the starting role.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Washington head coach Jay Gruden insists his club has done nothing wrong in its handling of Robert Griffin III's concussion over the last week. A tumultuous few days in the nation's capital came to a head Friday, when an independent neurologist assigned by the NFL didn't clear Griffin to play in Saturday's contest against the Ravens, even though Washington said Thursday the quarterback had been given the OK to suit up.

Griffin has been participating in non-contact drills throughout the week after the Gruden said he had suffered a concussion against the Lions last Thursday.

Speculation that Washington may have conspired with the NFL-assigned neurologist to hold out Griffin surfaced Saturday afternoon when ESPN reported the team wants to have Kirk Cousins start Week 1. But Gruden said after Washington's 31-13 win over the Ravens on Saturday night that simply isn't the case.

"I know people want to make it out that we're incompetent, but this had nothing to do with us," Gruden said, per ESPN. "It was totally an independent doctor. A verbal [report] being said to our doctor, and then, all of a sudden, the written report is different. We followed proper course and did what we thought was right for Robert and what the report said. We followed everything by the book ... This was all put on us at the last minute."

Gruden also said he hasn't decided on a starter for Week 1, and won't do so until Griffin is looked at again.

"We have to re-evaluate the tape. We have to find out how Robert is," Gruden said. "[Griffin] has to go through the protocol and get retested. We'll see how he's doing then and make our decision. I'm not going to announce anything [tonight], and there is no controversy."

Cousins played well against Baltimore on Saturday night, completing 20 of 27 passes for 190 yards, one touchdown and an interception. The Ravens jumped out to an early 13-0 before Washington scored 31 unanswered points.

In five games as a starter last season, Cousins went 1-4. He finished the season with 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Griffin was in the lineup for nine games, and completed 68.7 percent of his passes while throwing four touchdowns and six interceptions. Washington went 2-5 when Griffin started.

Controversy has followed Griffin ever since his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2012, but Gruden continues to reiterate this latest episode stems from miscommunication rather than duplicity. Either way, it isn't a good look for the Washington football team, which has won seven games combined in the last two seasons.