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Actually, Coach Joe. . .

Jul 21, 2009, 12:12 PM EDT

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Joe Gibbs appeared on the debut of Mike Wise’s show on WJFK radio yesterday. Among the topics he addressed were the trials and tribulations of Jason Campbell, the quarterback that Gibbs himself handpicked to be the signal caller of the future. And here’s what he had to say (as quoted by Dan Steinberg in the Sports Bog).

On Jason Campbell’s offseason: “The quarterbacks that we’ve been fortunate enough to be with the years that I coached, they went through some tough times, believe me, all of them did….Theismann, at one point we benched Joe….Mark Rypien got benched mainly for turning the ball over….Doug Williams came in really as a backup, he’d been through a lot of things in Tampa, went to the USFL, got bounced around, got criticized for a lot of things….

I hate to dispute what a Hall of Fame legend says but part of that statement is not accurate, the part about Joe Theismann. Yes, he was benched earlier in his career when Jack Pardee was coach. But Joe Gibbs never benched Joe Theismann.

Joey T. started every game from when Gibbs became the coach in 1981 through the 11th game of the 1985 season. That, of course, was the game during which Laurence Taylor sent Theismann to the bench permanently with the compound fracture of his leg.

Not only did Theismann start every game during those four-plus seasons, he took almost every snap. He didn’t even like to come out in mop-up situations. At no point in time was he pulled from a game when it was remotely competitive.

This was a major point of controversy towards the end of 1984 and for much of the time during those first 11 games of ’85. Theismann was not playing well and there were plenty of calls to bench him. But, in foreshadowing of what would happen with Mark Brunell during Gibbs 2.0, Gibbs stubbornly stood behind his veteran signal caller. Well, it was similar except that one could argue that Theismann had earned the loyalty by winning a Super Bowl and getting to another and Brunell had one playoff win.

And, for that matter, Campbell is getting similar treatment. The only thing that has sent him to the bench since he took over as the starter in the 10th game in 2006 was the dislocated kneecap he suffered late in 2007. Todd Collins came in and led a playoff run after he went out but Campbell took every snap last year despite a second-half fade in both his and the team’s performance.

I don’t necessarily expect Coach Joe to recall events from 25 years ago with crystal clarity so I’m not taking a shot at him. I’m just setting the record straight.

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