Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan announced Wednesday that he was benching Robert Griffin III for the rest of the season. Kirk Cousins will start, and Griffin will be the inactive No. 3 quarterback behind Rex Grossman.

Shanahan said he was benching Griffin to keep the star quarterback healthy for the offseason, pointing out the 24 sacks and other hits Griffin took over the last five games. He said that he ran the idea by owner Dan Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen, and that both offered their support.

"You've got to take a look at the risk and reward," Shanahan said.

Griffin was clearly unhappy with the move.

"I expressed my desire to play," Griffin said. "Of course I want to be out there and finish the season with my guys, see it through. He explained to me his reasoning, and at the end of the day Coach's decision is what we go with."

Panthers regroup

The Carolina Panthers entered the locker room after practice and the mood was light and lively, with several players breaking into scattered wrestling matches around the room.

Quarterback Cam Newton was all smiles, too.

"There was a great vibe at practice today," Newton said Wednesday.

The third-year quarterback said the Panthers approached the day eager to put Sunday night's 31-13 loss to the Saints behind them, but not forget the lessons that come with that disappointing and potential costly defeat.

"We can't dwell on it," Newton said.

The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak. But the Panthers (9-4) still control their own playoff destiny. Three wins and they're in the postseason for the first time since 2008.

Pass-happy

Carson Palmer didn't throw a pass in practice last week, then had one of the best passing games of his career.

The Arizona Cardinals quarterback won't try that this week. Palmer said he planned to throw some in preparation for the Cardinals' game at Tennessee on Sunday.

- Associated Press