Yet another Dynamic Debut by a Redskins QB

The Redskins haven’t exactly been synonymous with quality quarterbacking in the past two decades. Oh, some guys have had their moments — Gus Frerotte, Trent Green, Brad Johnson, Mark Brunell and, most recently, Robert Griffin III, to name a handful — but they never seem to last very long on the job.

For some reason, though, the Redskins have had quite a few quarterbacks — an amazing number, really — who’ve played exceptionally well their first time out of the box, either as a starter or in long relief. (Note the word “long,” as opposed to late-game mop-up duty.) It happened again Sunday, when Colt McCoy came off the bench in the second half to replace struggling Kirk Cousins and rallied Washington to a 19-17 win over Tennessee.

Actually, the trend goes back even farther – to the mid-’80s, with Jay Schroeder, Doug Williams and Mark Rypien. It’s a phenomenon that’s hard to explain, but it’s definitely real. Is there another NFL team that can boast a dozen QB debuts like these in recent decades?

12 TERRIFIC DEBUTS BY REDSKINS QUARTERBACKS IN THE LAST 30 YEARS

Date Quarterback Opponent Att Comp Yds TD Int Rating Result
11-18-85 Jay Schroeder* Giants 20 13 221 1 0 119.0 W, 23-21
9-13-87 Doug Williams* Eagles 27 17 272 2 0 121.2 W, 34-24
9-25-88 Mark Rypien Cardinals 41 26 303 3 1 99.9 L, 30-21
10-23-94 Gus Frerotte Colts 32 17 226 2 0 96.6 W, 41-27
9-6-98 Trent Green* Giants 25 17 208 2 0 120.1 L, 31-24
9-12-99 Brad Johnson Cowboys 33 20 382 2 0 121.0 L, 41-35
10-6-02 Patrick Ramsey* Titans 34 20 268 2 0 103.6 W, 31-14
12-6-07 Todd Collins* Bears 20 15 224 2 0 144.6 W, 24-16
12-19-10 Rex Grossman Cowboys 43 25 322 4 2 93.4 L, 33-30
9-9-12 Robert Griffin III Saints 26 19 320 2 0 139.9 W, 40-32
12-16-12 Kirk Cousins Browns 37 26 329 2 1 104.4 W, 38-21
10-19-14 Colt McCoy* Titans 12 11 128 1 0 138.9 W, 19-17
Totals 350 226 3203 25 4 113.1 Won 8, Lost 4

*Came off the bench.

Note: Seven of the quarterbacks (Rypien, Frerotte, Johnson, Ramsey, Collins, Griffin, McCoy) had never thrown a pass for the Redskins before, and two others (Williams, Green) had thrown only one. The remaining three (Schroeder 8, Grossman 7, Cousins 11) had thrown a few more, but not many. In other words, there’s no fudging here. It was the first significant playing time for all 12.

And yet they pulled five games out of the fire in relief appearances, posted a group passer rating of 113.1 and had all sorts of other fine-looking stats. If the Redskins had had quarterbacking anywhere near this good in this period, they’d probably have more than three Lombardi Trophies on display.

Not all of their quarterbacks, of course, have made first impressions like these. For every Schroeder, there’s been a John Beck, for every McCoy a Jeff George. But still . . . .

Maybe the answer for the Redskins is to just sign a bunch of journeyman QBs every year, plug each of them in for a game, then throw ’em away and sign a bunch more. There never seems to be any shortage of them.

Wait, I just had another idea. Maybe the Redskins could get that guy in Office Space to hypnotize their quarterbacks into believing it’s their First Game as a Redskin every week.

Just a thought. Like they say, desperate times call for desperate measures.