Hasselbeck just happy for the here and now

Unemployed 6 weeks ago, Redskins QB keeps focus on learning, playing

December 12, 2003|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

ASHBURN, Va. - Sometimes the older brother does know best. Just ask Tim Hasselbeck.

Hasselbeck, the quarterback for the Washington Redskins, was still savoring his 13-for-19, 154-yard, two-touchdown performance in Washington's 20-7 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday - his first win since taking over the Redskins three weeks ago and the team's first in four games.

Tuesday night, Hasselbeck called older brother and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt, who offered some constructive criticism.

"He said, `You know, you guys got a win, and that's great, and I think you've done a good job. But that might've been the worst you played out of the three games,' " Tim Hasselbeck said. "I kind of got a little mad at him, and he said, `Listen, if you're going to get defensive, let's not talk about it.' ... But I looked at my grade sheet [Wednesday] from Noah [Brindise, Washington's quarterbacks coach], and there were more minuses [than pluses] on that page."

Hasselbeck's education will continue when the Dallas Cowboys (8-5) meet the Redskins (5-8) at 4:15 p.m. on Sunday at FedEx Field.

Patrick Ramsey, who started the first 11 games of the season before aggravating a bone bruise and fracture in his right foot, was placed on injured reserve Monday and is out for the rest of the year. Rookie Gibran Hamdan is now the backup, and Brandon Doman was signed to the practice squad.

It's been a whirlwind rise for Hasselbeck, who was signed by Washington on Oct. 22 after Danny Wuerffel - a favorite of coach Steve Spurrier's - rebuffed the team's invitation to back up Ramsey.

"Six weeks ago, I didn't have a job," said Hasselbeck, who has bounced around with four NFL clubs. "I had nothing. My income read zero, zero, zero."

Since relieving Ramsey against the Miami Dolphins on Nov. 23, Hasselbeck has been solid, averaging 178.3 passing yards and a touchdown in the past three games.

Because Hasselback is still learning Spurrier's Fun 'N' Gun system, Brindise said the coaches have tried to rely on the running game and ask Hasselbeck to make quick, short passes.

"We haven't opened up our playbook 100 percent just because Tim hasn't been here very long," Brindise said. "It's unfair for us to put the game on his shoulders. ... He's been here six weeks, so there's only so much we can do. But he's done a good job."

Hasselbeck's stint as a starter likely will end by training camp. Spurrier has said that Ramsey, who should be recovered from foot surgery by March, will be the starter once again.

Hasselbeck, who is a free agent after this season, said he hasn't given much thought about whether Washington will offer him a contract extension.

"I don't care about that stuff," he said. "I'm just happy to have the opportunity to be on a football team and be playing football. This is what I like doing, and I have so much fun doing it."

NOTE: NFL sources told ESPN.com that linebacker LaVar Arrington, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, recently rejected a new contract offer. The proposal was for seven years at more than $50 million, and it reportedly included a signing bonus of $13 million to $15 million. It is not known whether talks will continue or if the extension will be revisited. Redskins vice president Vinny Cerrato told ESPN.com yesterday that the parameters of the contract were incorrect and denied Arrington has rejected the offer.

Next for Redskins

Matchup: Dallas Cowboys (8-5) vs. Washington Redskins (5-8)

Site: FedEx Field, Landover

When: Sunday, 4:15 p.m.

TV/Radio: Chs. 45, 5/WNAV (1430 AM), WJFK (106.7 FM)

Line: Even

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