Joe Theismann said yesterday he strongly disagrees with Bill Kilmer about who should be the starting quarterback for the Redskins this year.
In addition to demanding a two-year contract from the Redskins, Kilmer also said last week that he deserves to be No. 1, no matter what happens in training camp or the exhibition games, based on his past contributions to the team.
"Bill has his own situation to reckon with and I don't begrudge him anything," Theismann said yesterday at Redskin Park. "He's had a lot of great years of football, and whatever he can get, he deserves.
"The question now is to what extent will people go to give it to him. I know I'd be very disappointed to see the competitive aspect taken out of the game.
"Bill can say and ask and do what he wants to. But I firmly believe in the American way, and that's competition. And this year, it really does look like we're going to have it.
"I'm more excited this year than I've ever been. We've got the nucleus of what could be a great football team here. There's a different atmosphere. It's a little looser, there's a little less pressure. It's a nice feeling.
"People are coming out to the park in big numbers, 20 to 25 a day, working out and getting ready. A lot of guys realize a change has taken place and its going to be an earn-the-job situation."
In four previous seasons in Washington, Theismann never went to training camp believing he had legitimate shot at deposing Kilmer. Coach George Allen always announced that Kilmer would be his No.1 man even before camp began.
But this year, Jack Pardee has said the quarterback position, and every other spot on the roster, will be given to the man who earns it in camp. "And I believe Jack,"Theismann said. "I'd be kiddimg myself if I didn't believe it."
And so, for most of the last two months, Theismann has been showing up regularly at Redskin Park, working on his body and his head. He lifts, he throws and he studies and playbooks with offensive coordinator Joe Walton.
Theismann predicts Washington's football fans will enjoy the new-look Redskin offense now being put together by Walton. 'It's going to be much more exciting," he said. "I know already from a quarterback's standpoint, the potential for fun as a participant and as a spectator is definitely there. It's just going to be fun, and I'll leave it at that."
The "fun" will begin in earnest Friday when Pardee gathers most of his veterans for the first time in a two day minicamp. And if Kilmer holds true to his pledge that he will not attend unless he has signed a new contract, Theismann will get all the work he can handle.
Kilmer has officially informed Redskin General Manager Bobby Beathard that he does not intend to show up.
But Theismann is also realist and knows precisely what will happen this summer.
"I don't ever go to camp not expecting Bill to be there, and he'll be there again in July," Theismann said, "We've been competing against each other for four years to be a starter. If I didn't do that, I'd be cheating myself and this football team. What happens around me and what the people who make the decisions decide - I have no control over things like that."
Surely, Theismann had no control over Allen's maneuverings. Last year, he took over as a starter after six games, was No. 1 for the next six (with a 4-2 record) and then was demoted in the stretch drive for the final two games. Theismann simmered over the benching at the time but publicly kept his mouth shut. And yesterday, he refused to put the rap on the departed Allen.
"You know the situation here," Theismann said. "But one thing he (Allen) did teach me was how to be mentally tough. I've dealt with some of the toughest situations you'll ever find playing football. I've learned how to handle things. And I think I've matured.
"But what's happened in the past is over. It was interesting under George, put it that way. But he's out in Los Angeles now and I wish him all the luck in the world. For me, things are looking up, and that's how I'd like to leave it."
The Redskins have hired Richard B.Daniels, a former defensive back with Dallas, Chicago and Miami, as the club's director of college scouting. He has scouted for the Dolphins and San Francisco.