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Joe Theismann's Early Career: You'd Have Thought He'd Never Get It!

1983:  Quarterback Joe Theismann of the Washington Redskins passes the ball during a game. Mandatory Credit: Allsport  /Allsport
Getty Images/Getty Images
Bill HintonCorrespondent IApril 8, 2010

So Joe Theismann felt the need to rip JaMarcus Russell during a Sirius radio interview. I wonder what the basis for Joe's opinion was? He couldn't have based this statement on his own career, because if he had, he couldn't have made those comments.

Theismann came to the Redskins in 1974. He didn't start a game at quarterback until the 1976 season. As a part-time starter in '76 and '77 and a full-time starter in '78, he hardly resembled a quarterback who would lead a team to a Super Bowl. In fact, when looking at the stats, he looked a lot like JaMarcus Russell.

Theismann's best completion percentage during this period was 48.5 percent as a part-time starter in 1976. In fact in 1978, his fifth year in the league, he could only manage to complete 47.9 percent of his passes! JaMarcus Russell completed 53.8 percent of his passes as a first-year starter in only his second year in the league.

Theismann threw 13 touchdown passes and 18 interceptions in 1978. JaMarcus Russell threw 13 touchdown passes and 8 interceptions in 2008.

Joe Theismann had a quarterback rating of 61.6 in 1978. JaMarcus Russell had a quarterback rating of 77.1 in 2008.

It has always been my opinion that some quarterbacks develop quickly, while others take time and some never do. To definitively say that Russell won't ever develop into a quality quarterback is still premature.

Joe Theismann has made a baseless argument, an argument I'm guessing was made on emotion rather than fact. Because after the 1978 season, one could have easily rationalized Joe Theismann would never get it!

I don't know if Russell will succeed, and neither does Joe Theismann, or anyone else for that matter. If he doesn't, I won't be shocked, but unlike many others, I won't be shocked if he does.

On what do I base my optimism, you might ask? I base it on the career of Joe Theismann! Thank you, Joe, you've made my day!


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