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Redskins Legacy: Shroeder For Jim Lachey

Posted Sep 29, 2013

Besides the acquisition of Sonny Jurgensen for Norm Snead, the trade for Raiders offensive tackle Jim Lachey for quarterback Jay Schroeder in 1988 might be the best in franchise history.

The Norm Snead for Sonny Jurgensen quarterback swap in April 1964 is considered the greatest trade in Redskins history.

Snead, who was dealt to the Eagles, was an above-average quarterback at best in his last 13 seasons.  Jurgy, a prolific passer for the burgundy and gold in the 1960s, is today in the Hall of Fame.

But what deal makes the list at No. 2?  It has to be the acquisition of Raiders offensive tackle Jim Lachey for quarterback Jay Schroeder in 1988.

Shroeder, meanwhile, played seven more seasons as part of an11-year career.  He came nowhere close to equaling his success in D.C., where he threw for a team-record 4,109 yards in 1986 and made the Pro Bowl.  He earned a Super Bowl ring the following year.

He entered the public eye when he relieved Joe Theismann following the veteran’s gruesome, career-ending injury in a Monday night game against the Giants in 1985.  Schroeder, a former minor league baseball player with minimal NFL experience, was unflappable that night, completing 13 of 20 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns in a 23-21 Redskins victory.

Schroeder further showcased his powerful arm and nimble feet in his 4,000-plus season in 1986.  The Redskins finished 12-4 and reached the NFC championship game, losing to the Giants, 17-0.

But his career unraveled in 1987.  Injured in the first game, he was relieved by Doug Williams, who was signed before the 1986 campaign to back up Schroeder.  The two, who didn’t care for each other, alternated at various intervals until Williams took the mantle in the season-ending game and held it through the 42-10 win over the Broncos in Super Bowl XXII.  He sparked the Redskins’ spectacular 35-point second quarter with four touchdown passes and was named game MVP.

Before the 1988 season, Redskins coach Joe Gibbs tapped Williams as the starter over Schroeder, who asked for a trade.

“Yes, because coach Gibbs decided after the Super Bowl that he was going to go with Doug,” Schroeder said.  “In the beginning, he said he was going to give me a shot in training camp, but that didn’t come true, and I wanted a chance to play and continue my career, so I asked to be traded.  I was frustrated, the coaching staff was frustrated with me.”

On opening day, Redskins general manager Bobby Beathard orchestrated a trade that sent Schroeder and some conditional draft picks to the Los Angeles Raiders for Lachey, an All-Pro who was in his fourth season.  (He starred in San Diego in his first three seasons before being traded to the Raiders in the summer of 1988.)

The 6-6, 300-pound baby Hog began at right tackle before replacing legendary Redskin Joe Jacoby at left tackle.

Lachey had remarkably quick feet and an ability to gain excellent leverage on pass rushers.  in his last four years, including two full seasons.Yet, after his dominance in the coming seasons, injuries forced him to miss 38 of 66 games

Those injuries also prevented him from going down as one of the top left tackles ever and from being a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame.  He has no regrets about the way his career ended, though.

“I was very fortunate those injuries didn’t happen the first three years of my career versus my last three,” Lachey said.  “Then, I would have never been able to do what I did in my first eight.  Sure, it would have been great to have another three or four years of domination.  It just didn’t happen.  I know in my heart that when I played, the years I was on top of it I was on top of it.  I can accept that and move on.”

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Mike Richman is the author of The Redskins Encyclopedia and the Washington Redskins Football Vault.  His web site is redskinshistorian.com.  Check out his Facebook Friend and Fan pages and follow him on Twitter.