Joe Theismann was never truly appreciated.
Theismann arrived in Washington at a time when Sonny Jurgensen and Billy Kilmer were still battling to lead the Redskins to the playoffs. Jurgensen is the most beloved Redskins player ever and a Pro Football Hall of Famer, while Kilmer led the team to the playoffs for the first time in a generation. That the pair were tight friends and resented Theismann fed fans' distrust of their successor.
Rookie Robert Griffin III will be the team's best quarterback since Jurgensen retired in 1974. Yes, that means he will be better than Theismann. There really isn't anyone of note between Griffin and Jurgensen.
Sad but true.
Griffin will be the 22nd different quarterback to start for Washington since it won the 1991 championship. That's more than one per season. No wonder Redskins fans obsess about finding a franchise QB. Many have never seen one. At least not for long.
Mark Rypien delivered a nice five-year run that culminated with the 1991 title, but he seemed only as good as the team around him. When the Redskins began to age, Rypien was quickly gone.
Brad Johnson could have been a great quarterback -- only owner Dan Snyder wanted Jeff George. Johnson later won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay.
Doug Williams won a Super Bowl in 1987 after taking over for injured Jay Schroeder. However, the Redskins were 4-6 the next year and 1-1 in 1989 with Williams as the starter.
Schroeder could have been a great one. He went 4-1 after taking over for an injured Theismann in 1985, passed for a team-record 4,109 yards and won 12 games in 1986 and was 8-2 in 1987. However, Schroeder wasn't liked by his teammates and was sent to Oakland for left tackle Jim Lachey in 1988.
Trent Green might have been a franchise quarterback. After passing for 3,441 yards in 14 starts in 1998, Green left as a free agent after the board of trustees wouldn't approve a lucrative deal during the team's sale.
And those were the brief highlights. Remember Tony Banks, Danny Wuerffel and John Friesz, much less first-rounders Heath Shuler, Patrick Ramsey and Jason Campbell?
No, only Theismann stands out between Griffin and Jurgensen. Even Kilmer wasn't a great passer, just a great competitor.
Theismann didn't become the regular starter until his fifth season in 1978, which also happened to be Kilmer's last. He threw for 3,000-plus yards three times in eight seasons. More importantly, Theismann missed only one start before Lawrence Taylor broke his leg.
Barring injury, Griffin can become Washington's best quarterback since Jurgensen. Of course, other than Theismann, that's not saying much.