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WP: Solomon: Redskins Hoping Brunell Brings Quarterback Carousel to a Halt


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Redskins Hoping Brunell Brings Quarterback Carousel to a Halt

By George Solomon


From 1964 to 1985, the Washington Redskins employed three quarterbacks who took just about every snap: Sonny Jurgensen, Billy Kilmer and Joe Theismann. But since that awful Monday night in 1985 when Theismann broke his leg in a game against the Giants, ending his career, the Redskins have used more than 20 quarterbacks.

"That's a lot," said Jurgensen the other day in an understatement. "It's obvious through those years there hasn't been much stability in the organization. Every time you bring in a new coach, he likes his own guy at quarterback."

The list of Redskins quarterbacks since Theismann includes Jay Schroeder, Doug Williams, Mark Rypien, Stan Humphries, Rich Gannon, Cary Conklin, Heath Shuler, John Friesz, Gus Frerotte, Jeff Hostetler, Trent Green, Brad Johnson, Rodney Peete, Jeff George, Tony Banks, Kent Graham, Shane Matthews, Patrick Ramsey, Danny Wuerffel, Tim Hasselbeck and Rob Johnson. Is there anyone who has ever sat between Sonny and George Michael on Monday night that I might have missed?

"Brad Johnson should still be the quarterback in Washington,'' said former Redskins GM Charley Casserly, who signed many of these players and left in 1999 when the team was sold to Daniel Snyder. Now running the Houston Texans, Casserly said he could have signed Green before he opted for free agency but was stopped by the trustees of the Cooke estate who ran the team briefly before selling first to the Milstein Boys (not so fast, guys) and then to Snyder. "Green has done extremely well in St. Louis and Kansas City and Johnson [signed after Green fled] won a Super Bowl for Tampa Bay," Casserly observed. Johnson skipped town after the 2000 season because he thought Snyder preferred George.

Skipping over the one-year stand with Marty (When was that? Did I take a pill to forget it?) and Steve Spurrier's two-year, five quarterback "coach 'em up" Gators reunion, we return today to FedEx Field where we find Joe Gibbs back in charge (am I on top of the news, or what?). Gibbs, who won Super Bowls with Theismann, Williams and Rypien, is back after 11 years for a second tour. And he brings with him his own quarterback, Mark Brunell. At 33, he might not be the same player he was during most of a good 10-year run in Jacksonville, but he can win here.

Jurgensen, who with the venerable Texan Sammy Baugh is the only Redskins quarterback enshrined in Canton, believes Brunell will do well. "He's smart, he's been there before and knows the game," Jurgensen said. "This is a great place for him. . . . Brunell will make very good decisions."

Brunell easily beat out third-year pro Ramsey, who was so bad this summer he needs to improve to remain the backup ahead of Hasselbeck, or even the 70-something guy in the booth, who remains my favorite.


Read that former Hog and current Steelers' assistant head coach Russ Grimm has one son playing ball at Virginia Tech and a budding star at Oakton (Va.) High School. It seems like yesterday that Grimm was a rookie guard out of Pitt. What happened?

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