Kirk Cousins heads list of Top 10 MSU Spartans to play for the Washington Redskins

 

Kirk Cousins, Redskins, vs. Atlanta

I can't say Sparty has a glorious history with the Washington Redskins, but 27 former Michigan State Spartans rocked the Burgundy & Gold. Here, in reverse order, is the official Hog Heaven list of Top Ten Spartans to play for Washington. Kirk Cousins is No. 1 on this list, of course.

RANK

PLAYER

POS

YEARS

COMMENTS

10.

Ralf Mojsiejenko

P

1989-1990

Averaged 41.4 yards per punt in the twilight of the Gibbs I era, but he is listed here to keep Devin Thomas off the list. If I were doing a list of former Michigan players Ali Haji-Shiek would go here. But I'm not, so kick me.

9.

T.J. Duckett

RB

2006

Speaking of Gibbs, Duckett's time with the Redskins is sad proof of how Snyderrato changed Gibbs instead of the other way around. Duckett is revered in East Lansing, and he was a Red Zone scoring machine for the Falcons with 27 rushing TDs in the prior three seasons. Clinton Portis' preseason injury sent Gibbs and Snyderrato scurrying for an "insurance policy."

In a weird three-team deal, Mike Shanahan snookered the Redskins and the Falcons by receiving a Draft pick from Washington and sending WR Ashlie Lelie to the Falcons who sent Duckett to Washington. Ladel Betts was right there on the Redskins' roster all along. Shanahan used the Draft pick on OT Ryan Harris.

The 'Skins hardly used Duckett even in the Red Zone where they had a hard time converting touchdowns. Betts chewed up yards, but he was not a scoring machine like Portis, or Duckett. What a waste.  

8.

Ron Hatcher

FB

1962

Hog Heaven saw his first live Redskins game in 1962. Hatcher makes the list because he was the lone Spartans on the roster that year. It's my blog and I can do what I wanna.

7.

Fran O'Brien

RT

1960-1966

Any Spartan who blocked for Sonny Jurgensen must make the list. It's a Hog Heaven rule. O'Brien also played for Cleveland and Pittsburgh, but stettled in Washington after his NFL career. His restaurant, Fran O'Brien's Stadium Steakhouse, was a famous watering hole for DC's political elite. O'Brien garnered enormous goodwill by serving free steak dinners to wounded veterans. Struck by a heart attack in 1999 while at his restaurant, O'Brien died at nearby George Washington Hospital.

6.

Sherman Lewis

Playcaller

2009

Sherm Lewis is a laughing stock in Washington and that's both a crime and a shame.

Lewis was an All-American halfback at Michigan State who placed third in voting for the 1963 Heisman Trophy. He is an acorn from the Bill Walsh coaching tree who learned from the master himself. After nine years with Walsh, Lewis spent eight years as Packers offensive coordinator with Mike Holmgren. When he retired from football, Lewis volunteered some of his time calling BINGO at a senior center. The news media saw it as a human interest angle. Sadly, pundits and fans made more of that than his coaching pedigree, his 221-97-1 overall coaching record or four Super Bowl teams. His expertise as a West Coast Offense guru was the reason the Redskins brought him out of retirement to mentor Jim Zorn. That move would have been better made in 2008 when Zorn was named accidental head coach.

By 2009, relations between Zorn and the Redskins were beyond repair. Vinny Cerrato didn't trust Zorn to call the plays from his own game plan, not without reason. He asked Lewis to do it, which added to the circus act that had become the Redskins.

When people wrote that African-Americans could not be hired as NFL head coaches, Lewis was always the prime example. NFL owners looked in the mirror and agreed. They promised to at least talk to a minority candidate before naming a head coach.   

When I was on campus, co-eds twice confused me for Sherman Lewis. I was tempted to say, "why yes, I am Sherm Lewis," to see where the conversation would go. But, my momma didn't raise me to do stuff like that. Dammit.  

5.

Lemar Marshall

LB

2002-2006

Won the starting role as SAM linebacker when LaVar Arrington was injured in 2004. In 2005, he moved to the MIKE position when former Giant Mike Barrow proved far more injured than the Redskins knew.
Washington foolishly let Antonio Pierce walk away by then. Pierce stepped in for Barrow in the '04 season. Marshall had a great year in 2005 filling in for Pierce who had a great year with the Giants filling in for Barrow. Knee and ankle injuries slowed Marshall in 2006, but he managed a career-high 104 tackles. The Redskins did not re-sign Marshall. Instead, they went bargain hunting for a cap casualty off of the Bills' roster, some guy named London Fletcher.  

4.

Tony Banks

QB

2001

Are you laughing? I hear you laughing. I cannot say I cheered for Banks. As a Spartans alum, I refused to boo him. Here's the thing. Banks was 8-6 for the 2001 Redskins. He might have improved on that if Mr. Snyder hadn't fired Marty Schottenheimer.

3.

Lonnie Sanders

DB

1963-67

Sanders is one of the Redskins of the 60's in a decade when the 'Skins lost a lot of exciting games because Jurgensen and the offense couldn't outscore opponents who the defense could not stop. The Redskins' record of consecutive sellouts and the Cowboys rivalry were born in that decade with Sanders, Pat Fisher and Johnny Sample in the defensive backfield. Sanders scored nine interceptions in his Redskins career. Sanders is here for the happy memory rather than football exceptionalism. Good times.

2.

Ron Saul

OL

1976-1981

Saul began his pro career with the Houston Oilers until he was old enough to join George Allen's Over-The-Hill Gang. He played at a high level on the O-line. Before there were The Hogs, there was Saul.

1.

Kirk Cousins

QB

2012-

DC-area Redskins fans don't often watch Big Ten games (soon to be corrected), so Cousins was a mystery to them when Mike Shanahan drafted him. I watched Cousins win games for four years. His rescue mission in the Ravens game and outstanding showing against the Browns is typical of him. I'm ready to declare greatness in advance – though if all goes as planned, we won't see much of Cousins on the field.

By now, at least six NFL teams ought to be kicking themselves for sleeping on Cousins in the 2012 NFL Draft. Their loss is our gain. If other teams are not offering a first round pick, the answer is "no."

Image: Kirk Cousins vs. Atlanta via zimbio.com.

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Anthony Brown

About Anthony Brown

Lifelong Redskins fan and blogger about football and life since 2004. Joined MVN's Hog Heaven blog in 2005 and then moved Redskins Hog Heaven to Bolguin Network. Believes that the course of a season is pre-ordained by management decisions made during the offseason. Can occasionally be found on the This Given Sunday blog and he does guest posts.

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