Going into first start, Ramsey starting over

Redskins QB out to show his debut was no fluke

Pro Football

October 11, 2002|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

ASHBURN, Va. - Sammy Baugh, Sonny Jurgensen, Joe Theismann and Doug Williams.

Rookie Patrick Ramsey is hoping to add his name to that list of successful Washington Redskins quarterbacks.

But Ramsey, who was impressive in his NFL debut with a 20-for-34, 268-yard effort with two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 31-14 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, knows the adoration of fans can turn into venom if he should fail in his next outing.

"I'm very happy that people are accepting of my performance," said Ramsey, a first-round draft choice who will make his first NFL start against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at FedEx Field. "But at the same time, I know that this is a whole new game this week, and I don't want to ride one game for my whole career. I just want to continue to be successful and try to be consistent."

In a town swirling with political intrigue, the process of finding the Redskins' quarterback is nearly as compelling. Ramsey will be the team's 14th starting quarterback since 1992 and third this season.

Ramsey's voracious appetite to learn coach Steve Spurrier's offensive system has helped him overcome animosity from when he missed 16 days of training camp during a contract holdout and was nearly traded to the Chicago Bears.

He started the season as the third quarterback behind Shane Matthews and Danny Wuerffel. Matthews didn't play poorly in Washington's first three games, but Spurrier demoted him to the No. 3 spot to give Wuerffel a shot against the Titans.

When Wuerffel sprained his throwing shoulder on the final play of the first series, Ramsey was sent in and guided an offense that scored on four consecutive possessions and helped the Redskins even their record at 2-2.

Yet Ramsey is expanding his education by approaching both Matthews and Wuerffel for their advice. The three have become a close-knit group.

"When I was a young guy, I had a veteran, Steve Beuerlein, who helped me and taught me the ropes," Matthews said. "Just the little things like your routine in the NFL, things you need to look for when you watch film, and we just try to do that with Patrick. I try to be here to be supportive of Patrick."

Said Ramsey: "I'm not looking over my shoulder. I'm more turning around and asking these guys, `What can I do better?' "

Though Ramsey may have been an unknown to the Titans, he won't enjoy that anonymity against New Orleans (4-1), where head coach Jim Haslett is familiar with Ramsey's 20 passing records at Tulane.

"Nothing surprised me, because in college, he did the same thing. He'd take his shots, throw the ball in there, move well, stay out of trouble, sit there and take a hit. He's a pretty tough guy," said Haslett.

Opposing teams usually try to unnerve rookie quarterbacks with a variety of blitz packages, and Washington right guard Brenden Stai said Ramsey should expect to see such tactics.

"When I was with Pittsburgh, a lot of that was done to Kordell [Stewart]. They tried to confuse his young, rookie mind," Stai recalled. "I don't think [the Saints] are going to bring more than usual, but they're going to have a blitz package for us. We just have to be ready to pick it up."

NOTE: Although Washington-area residents are on edge because of the recent string of sniper shootings, police aren't saying much about security plans for Sunday's Redskins game.

"Security measures will be in place, but I can't say what they will be," said Joseph Merkel, a Prince George's County police spokesman.

He added that fans are not being asked to refrain from tailgating or to alter their game-day routines.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Next for Redskins

Opponent:New Orleans Saints

Site:FedEx Field, Landover

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV/Radio:Ch. 5/WNAV (1430 AM), WJFK (106.7 FM)

Line:Saints by 1

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