The Washington Times - June 23, 2008, 08:36AM


The Best — As I See It! 


Part III: Quarterbacks


Robert Janis



What is really fun about being a fan of a long established pro sports franchise is that you have an ever filling reservoir of players from which to choose for your list of best in a particular position. And, being a fan of the team whether it is for 50 years or five years means that you can fall back on your own personal opinion when making your own list of the best.


What follows is my list of the best Washington Redskins by squad.


Part I will cover the offensive line.

Part II will identify the best receivers.

Part III will list the best quarterbacks.

Part IV will describe the best running backs.

Part V goes into the best defensive linemen.

Part VI covers the linebackers.

Part VII is for the defensive linemen.

Part VIII will discuss the best linebackers.

Part IX will i.d. the best defensive backs.


Again, this is my opinion. I encourage you to post your list of the best in a particular position as a comment to my article that covers that position. For example, no doubt you have your own opinions on who were the best Washington Redskins quarterbacks. Post your picks as a comment to my article.


As you can see, the names are probably not surprising, but the order may be. Here are my selections for the top four quarterbacks of the Washington Redskins.


Sonny Jurgensen

Sammy Baugh

Joe Theismann

Bill Kilmer


One could very easily put Sammy Baugh first and Sonny Jurgensen second. Both are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and both have great stats. Baugh also played defensive back and was a punter. As an athlete, there is no doubt that Baugh was better than Jurgensen. But this is for the BEST QUARTERBACK. And so I pick Jurgensen.


Even Jurgensen rivals agree.  Here’s what Joe Theismann said about Jurgensen. “When you have that one individual who is so great like a Michael Jordan, you wait for them to make a play. Teammates almost become spectators. That was the way it was with Sonny.”


Then there are the honors. He was selected for the Pro Bowl five times (1961, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1969); he was an all-pro selection five times (1961, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1969); he was selected to the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team; he is recognized at one of the 70 Greatest Redskins; he is in the Redskins Ring of Fame; and he is the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 


His career stats look like this:


He won three NFL individual passing titles; he threw for 400 yards in a single game five times; and he threw five touchdown passes in a game twice. His career rating is 82.6 and he completed 2,433 passes for 32,224 yards and 255 touchdowns.  Finally, he was a major contributor to the Redskins getting to Super Bowl VII. I interviewed a lot of former Redskins who played in that game, and each and every one of them said that they believe the Redskins would have won if Jurgensen played. 


All I can add is thank God Bill McPeak traded Norman Snead for Sonny Jurgensen. 


As for Baugh being number two. Of course, he was great. He led the Redskins to a championship. He was selected to the all-star team five times (1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, and 1942); and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1951. He received nine all-pro selections (1937, 1938, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1945, 1947, 1948). He is on the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team and the NFL 1940s All-Decade team. He is one of the 70 Greatest Redskins; he is on the Ring of Fame; and he is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Associated Press named him the third greatest NFL player of the 20th Century; and Sporting News named him the 11th greatest NFL player of the 20th Century and the highest ranking player for the Redskins. 


His career stats include 1,693 completions in 2,995 attempts for 21,886 yards and 187 touchdowns. His career rating is 72.2.


However, and this is not a knock but rather a compliment, he was not only a fantastic quarterback but also a great defensive back and punter. His play as defensive back and as a punter as well as quarterback were all contributors to him receiving so many honors. Again, this is for the best QB! And I say Sonny. Look at the career rating — Baugh, 72.2; Jurgensen, 82.6.


Theismann is number three because he led the Redskins to two Super Bowls, winning one of them. He also owns many of the franchise records. He was selected for the Pro Bowl twice (1982, 1983) and was an all-pro selection three times (1979, 1982, 1983). The Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, and the NEA selected him the NFL MVP in 1983 and he was the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 1983. He received the Bert Bell Award and the Walter Payton Man of the Year honor in 1982 and he is one of the 70 Greatest Redskins. You can find out more about Theismann’s career and review all of his stats in the article that appears in this blog: Whatever Happened to … Joe Theismann Part I and Part II. 


Finally, Billy Kilmer is ranked fourth because of his tenacity and toughness. While with the San Francisco 49ers he was in a terrible auto accident and doctors said that he would never play football again. Obviously those doctors were wrong. Kilmer felt slighted when Dallas Cowboys head coach Tom Landry questioned his skills before the NFC title game in 1972. That got Kilmer mad and he went on and beat the Cowboys. Take that, Tom Landry. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1972 and selected as All-Pro in 1972 and 1975. He led the NFL in passing touchdowns in 1972 with 19 and led the NFL in passer rating in 1972 (84.8). He played in 82 games in eight seasons with the Redskins and completed 953 passes for 12,352 yards and 103 touchdowns. His quarterback rating is 76.9.


Theismann said of Kilmer, “Billy wasn’t as gifted as Sonny. You felt like you had to raise the level of your play to help Billy. Kilmer was therefore more of a team player who raised the level of competition of the players who played around him. That’s why George (Allen) started Billy.” Find out more about Kilmer from a story I wrote a few years ago: Whatever Happened to … Billy Kilmer (


Now a couple of honorable mentions. I think a shout out should go to Mark Rypien and Doug Williams. Rypien led the Redskins to a Super Bowl victory and was the league’s MVP that same year. Doug Williams should be recognized here if for nothing else then his performance in the Super Bowl victory over the Denver Broncos. From the beginning of the second quarter through the rest of the game Williams was in a zone. In short, he saved his best performance of his career for the most important game of his career. 


So, that’s it! My selections for the best Redskins QBs. Now it’s your turn. Do you agree or do you think I’m full of it.  Write your opinion in the comment box below.