Tony Jones: RGIII's performance gives Redskins fans hope
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As a longtime, and longsuffering, fan of the Washington Redskins, I saw the savior of the franchise play tackle football on Thursday night.

Robert Griffin III made his professional debut against the Buffalo Bills. He dazzled, playing three offensive series. He threw for a touchdown. He completed 4 of 6 passes. He was athletic in the pocket. He had a good relationship with Pierre Garcon, Washington's prized free agent wideout.

In short, I was a happy person.

I can guess what you're thinking: It's the first game of preseason. It's the Buffalo Bills. It means absolutely nothing.

Hogwash.

This writer has been a 'Skins fan for 30 years, since the days of John Riggins. There have been two competent quarterbacks in those three decades — Joe Theismann and Mark Rypien. I was forced to root for John Beck last season, prompting a clockwork Facebook meltdown every Sunday evening.

I'm still waiting for Jason Campbell to develop and for Rex Grossman to stop throwing redzone interceptions. I'm still waiting for Heath Shuler to become a better quarterback than politician, and I'm still wondering why Gus Frerotte decided to take on a cement wall with his head.

I'm still waiting for Brad Johnson to become nimble enough in the pocket to elude a rush, and I still think Shane Matthews will be the quarterback Steve Spurrier thinks he was at Florida. Indeed, the manure pile that's lined up behind center in our nation's capital is long and depressing, and I've sat through all of it.

That's why I celebrated Thursday night's performance by RGIII like it was the Super Bowl. Finally, there was competence. A guy who, at least for one night, looked like he knew what he was doing. It didn't matter that RGIII was a rookie, or that he will no doubt have growing pains, or that at some point he will throw interceptions, like every other rookie not named Cam Newton.

We Redskins fans have had precious little hope to cling to in the last decade. So please, don't rain on our parade. Let us have our moment, even if it's a fleeting one. I know that Dan Snyder will eventually find a way to screw the entire thing up. But RGIII is like water in a desert. He represents a bright future, a winner and a guy who has the talent to reach great heights in his career.

I just hope he brings the Redskins along for the ride.

tjones@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tonyaggieville