Q&A With: Joe Theismann

The former Redskins quarterback has never shied away from an opinion. Not everyone likes it, but at least Theismann has something to say. And this time he's talking about Patrick Ramsey, Shane Matthews and the offensive line.

Q: What's your take on what's going on with the Redskins?

A: The preseason was a misconception of what this team might have looked like because of hte simplistic nature defenses apply during the preseason and, really, coaches don't care about it during the preseason. In Patrick's case, you can't miss training camps. The fact that he hasn't gotten hurt is just amazing. He's proven that he's a tough kid with a future. Once he's more comfortable and has a chance to see what's going on and learn, he'll be a darn good quarterback. I've never seen anyone step in with a brand new system, especially one that requires the quarterback and the receiver to be on the same page as much as this one does, and succeed. So where Patrick is doesn't surprise me. He plays well one week and struggles the next. It's important for him not to get his dobber down.

Q: What did you see in him that suggests he's still a rookie with much to learn?

A: The biggest thing is indecision, not knowing where he wants to go with the ball, holding onto it a little more, not really comfortable in the pocket and not feeling the pressures around him to slide and make trhows. That's all just a matter of a kid trying to hang in there and be tough and do what the coach says as opposed to being an athlete and playing the position. It's a four-year learning process. The first year you try to learn what the coach wants to teach you. The second year you learn what defenses want to do to you. The third year you put the two together and the fourth year you should be the product that they drafted out of college. That's the way the process works. I use Peyton Manning as the ultimate example of someone who was ready to play this game. His dad played, he was around the game, he was a senior. All of a sudden he comes to the pros and he's horrible his first year. If Peyton can't do it in his first year, what do you expect from anyone else. Here's Patrick, with no training camp, he doesn't have the background Peyton does. He hasn't been exposed to the system. He hasn't had a chance to play and he doesn't really know the receivers. And everyone expects him to light the world on fire? It's almost like the Tennessee game was the worst thing that could have happened to him. Everyone had these great expectations, but he'll learn. He'll do well.

Q: What do you think of the QB switch?

A: This is the only time a quarterback switch makes sense. And when they put Patrick in it made sense. Steve's tenure here is not one year. We're so used to seeing guys here three or four months that you think, 'Here it goes again.' Steve's building a program and it's not just about the quarterback position. The defense is starting to play well. This team in games 10-12 will be a darn good club. At the beginning of the year Shane was the best quarterback coming out. He gives you some mobility. He throws downfield better than Danny does. Shane is the best choice to go in and play now. Indianapolis is a team that struggles stopping the run so this could be what the doctor orders for this team.

Q: Is the waffling on quarterbacks detrimental at all to Patrick?

A: It's not detrimental to the individuals, but to the other guys on the team. Every team seeks to find a leader and the quarterback position has to lead. There's no choice. If you don't have a quarterback who can lead you, you won't win many games. But you have to know what you're doing. To me, Patrick has shown enough to say this kid does have leadership skills and the ability at some point to lead this team. But you have to know what you're doing. You can be a general and march people the wrong way. What does that accomplish? Nothing. You have to be tough, which I think he is. You have to be willing to try, which I think he is. It has to matter to you, which, when you see how disgruntled he looks, it tells you he's trying to learn. I like the foundation of what I see. He's a physical kid, he throws the ball well and he throws it downfield well. The one thing that jumped out at me is that he's one tough son of a gun. He's gone 12 rounds every week and he's still standing.

Q: What's the biggest problem on offense?

A: You can't lay the problems on offense on just one individual. It's a line that's been in flux. Brenden Stai just got here. Chris is hobbling a little bit. The one thing about a team is, you have to have consistency in the line. If you look at teams that have won here and San Francisco and New York and Green Bay, the one thing that's consistent is the line. Everything starts with that. I'm a quarterback and I understand the offensive line. If those guys play together you'll be successful. The most classic example is look at the Giants a few years ago. Those were old guys. They were guys in their mid-30s who stayed healthy. By staying healthy they would up being in the Super Bowl. If you have continuity up front, you'll run the ball well and consequently throw the ball well. If you say one thing has to improve, it's the play of the line.

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