Ramsey says he'll start on Sunday against Saints

Despite tying record, B. Smith talks to Snyder about losing starting job

Redskins notebook

Pro Football

November 25, 2003|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

ASHBURN, Va. - As long as Patrick Ramsey is healthy, he will be the starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins.

Coach Steve Spurrier confirmed that scenario yesterday, reasserting that Tim Hasselbeck will continue to back up Ramsey, who has been playing despite an aggravation of a fractured bone in his right foot.

Ramsey started in Washington's 24-23 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday night, but left the game in the first quarter with a concussion.

Despite that, Ramsey said he plans to start against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at FedEx Field at 4:05 p.m.

"My expectation and my desire is to play and play for the remainder of the season," said Ramsey, who wore a protective boot on his right foot. "Whether reality holds up with that, we'll find out. But ... hopefully, I can finish out."

Ramsey is the NFC's eighth-best passer with 2,166 yards and 14 touchdowns. But the second-year pro has also been sacked 30 times - only the Buffalo Bills' Drew Bledsoe (32 sacks) and the Philadelphia Eagles' Donovan McNabb (32) have been sacked more often - and while few question his durability, some wonder whether Ramsey is setting himself up for a major setback.

Spurrier said he trusts Ramsey to tell him if he can't play.

"We'll base that on what the doctors say and how Patrick feels as far as his physical condition," Spurrier said. "If he says, `Coach, I'm ready to play,' then he'll be our guy and away we'll go."

If Ramsey can't play against the Saints, Spurrier said he has confidence in starting Hasselbeck, a journeyman who had thrown three NFL passes before completing 15 of 30 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown in Miami.

Hasselbeck said he understands his role and is grateful for the experience.

"For this organization to bring me in this situation and trust me to be a backup and pretty much play an entire game, I'm extremely thankful for that," he said.

Taking it to the top

Still smarting about losing his starting position, defensive end Bruce Smith appears to have an influential ally in his corner: team owner Daniel M. Snyder.

Smith, who tied Reggie White's NFL record of 198 career sacks, said he talked to Snyder after Sunday's loss in Miami about the coaches' decision to start Regan Upshaw at right defensive end the past four games.

Smith, who hasn't started since Oct. 19, criticized Spurrier and the rest of the coaching staff on Nov. 3 for the demotion, but then reversed his stance and said he would do anything to help the team win.

Asked yesterday if defensive coordinator George Edwards was putting the players in positions to win, Smith replied, "The only thing I can comment about at this point is I can't help this team win if I'm not on the field.

"This is not a selfish statement," Smith continued. "I want to help this team win and being on the sideline, my hands are tied. ... I think Mr. Snyder was a little disappointed at that when I talked to him about it. So I'm at a loss for words."

Spurrier would only say, "You'll have to talk with those parties about all of that."

Et cetera

The team placed Jermaine Haley on injured reserve, ending the defensive tackle's first season in Washington. Haley will undergo surgery to repair a fractured right thumb. ... Spurrier said offensive tackle Chris Samuels (sprained knee) and center Larry Moore (fractured foot) will likely miss Sunday's game. Lennie Friedman has been starting for Moore, and Spurrier said Brandon Winey will replace Samuels, who could miss another week.

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