Joe Theismann played his last football game for the Washington Redskins on November 18, 1985. This date also marks the last time that the Redskins have had a franchise QB. During his 10 years in DC, Theismann started 124 games and had a 77-47 record. That streak ended that fateful Monday night against the Giants when he was sacked by All-pro linebacker Lawrence Taylor resulting in a compound fracture of his lower leg. He would never play professional football again.
Since November 18th, 1985, 29 different quarterbacks have started football games for the Redskins. Below is the list of players who have made starts, the years in which those starts took place, and how many career starts they had in Burgundy and Gold.
Jay Schroeder(85-87) 31 starts
Ed Rubbert(87) 3 starts
Doug Williams(87-89) 12 starts
Mark Rypien(88-93) 72 starts
Stan Humphries(90) 5 starts
Jeff Rutledge(90) 1 start
Rich Gannon(93) 4 starts
Cary Conklin(93) 2 starts
Heath Shuler(94-95) 13 starts
John Frieze(94) 4 starts
Gus Frerotte(94-98) 42 starts
Jeff Hostetler(97) 3 starts
Trent Green(98) 14 starts
Brad Johnson(99-00) 27 starts
Jeff George(00-01) 7 starts
Tony Banks(01) 14 starts
Shane Matthews(02) 7 starts
Danny Wuerffel(02) 4 starts
Patrick Ramsey(02-05) 24 starts
Tim Hasselbeck(03) 5 starts
Mark Brunell(04-06) 33 starts
Jason Campbell(06-09) 52 starts
Todd Collins(07) 3 starts
Donovan McNabb(10) 13 starts
Rex Grossman(10-11) 16 starts
John Beck(11) 3 starts
Robert Griffin III(12-14) 35 starts
Kirk Cousins(12-present) 9 starts
Colt McCoy(14) 4 starts
Heroes can come in many different shapes and sizes. To a patient suffering from a potentially life-threatening issue, their hero may be the doctor who performed surgery to saved their life. A first responder may be viewed as a hero for pulling a child from a burning building. There were many heroes who served our country in Americas many wars. The list goes on, and on.
In the NFL, a hero can often be viewed as someone who comes in and "saves" a franchise from years of anguish. Many times, a quarterback takes on the role of "savior of a franchise", as they are often the player who has the most immediate control over how a team performs. In the NFL today, the role of the quarterback holds more importance than it ever did in the history of the game. Teams with productivity and stability at the quarterback position are usually the most successful, while those teams who continue to search for a franchise leader, are often at or near the bottom of their division in the W/L column. When a quarterback come in and energizes a beleaguered franchise, and his play helps to elevate his team to the next level, he is often viewed by the fan base as a hero.
For the Redskins, the task of finding a franchise hero seems daunting. Past and present draft misses and Ill-advised trades have set the franchise back, and have been the focal point for dysfunction. Again, this season, the Redskins will be searching for a Pheonix to rise from the ashes, and set them free.
Will the 2015 version of that Pheonix be four-year-vet Kirk Cousins?
Unlike some of the quarterbacks on the list above, Cousins was drafted, and developed by the team. He didn't enter the league as a high draft pick with the fanfare to go along with it. Instead, he was a fourth round pick in a season where the Redskins traded a king's ransom to move up to select Robert Griffin III. Many fans questions the pick at the time, citing other team needs ahead of a second quarterback, but Mike Shanahan insisted he went with the best player approach regardless of need, and told reporters after the game that they had a very high grade on Cousins, and simply couldn't pass up on him at that point in the draft. So, Cousins entered the league with little hype and expectations, and a myriad of perceived kinks he would need to work out of his game.
Fast forward four years....Cousins is now the unquestioned starter of the Redskins. His backup is now the man who the team spent the king's ransom to acquire. Not only does Kirk face the challenge of becoming a proficient NFL starting quarterback, but he must also face the history of past players who have failed at the position since that fateful day of Nobember 18, 1985. If Cousins hopes to become the hero many Redskins fans were never expecting, but have longed for for 30 years, he'll need to show coaches and teammates alike he has the physical and mental aspects necessary to master the position, and take his game, and team to another level.
Heroes come in many different shapes and sizes. Some are the most unassuming that you could possibly imagine, but each one shares one thing in common - selflessly doing the best you can in a time of need. Will Kirk Cousin's BEST be enough to lift this team from the ashes, and elevate him to hero status status amongst all who have played before him? This is certainly a time of need for this team, so the opportunity is there for Cousins. Redskins fans are tired of hold out hope.
It's time we found our Hero!