Gibbs calls the play: It's Brunell at QB

Redskins to start season with Ramsey on bench as former Jaguar gets nod

August 31, 2004|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,SUN STAFF

ASHBURN, Va. - Veteran Mark Brunell, acquired during the offseason from the Jacksonville Jaguars, has beaten out Patrick Ramsey for the Washington Redskins' starting quarterback spot, coach Joe Gibbs said yesterday.

Brunell will start the final preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons on Friday night and the regular-season opener with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 12.

The decision had been expected, although the timing was not. Gibbs had said he might wait until after the final preseason game to make his choice.

But Gibbs said after practice yesterday that it was time to end the constant rotation of Brunell and Ramsey with the first-team offense.

"I just felt like at this point a decision had to be made, and I felt like right now that Mark is the person that should start for us," the coach said. "I think it's important for us to get this settled, and now we can get on to more of a regular practice week and try to work on the timing of our passing game."

Brunell has outplayed Ramsey, who started 11 games last season under coach Steve Spurrier until he was sidelined by a foot injury.

Ramsey, alternating preseason starts with Brunell, has completed 15 of 37 passes for 196 yards and no touchdowns. Brunell is 22-for-40 for 244 yards and one touchdown and his quarterback rating is 71.3. Ramsey's rating is 46.7.

As he left the training facility yesterday, Ramsey said that he was disappointed, but that Brunell deserved the starting spot based on what the two quarterbacks had done in the preseason.

"I think he [Ramsey] is very competitive," Gibbs said. "You know, it's not something I'm sure that he likes. We had a good talk about it."

Gibbs also said of Ramsey: "I feel like we're going to be together for a long time. Obviously he has a huge role in what we're going to be doing because you're always one play away."

Brunell was personally recruited during the offseason by Gibbs and seems to enjoy a comfort level with him.

Brunell, a three-time Pro Bowl selection who was primarily a backup last year with the Jaguars, enters the season as the 11th-ranked passer in NFL history, with a quarterback rating of 85.2.

He said he was ready to again be a starter.

"I like the offense, I like the guys I get to play with," he said. "We've got a lot of talent, we've got a great system - a proven system - and so it's just go out there and play, make the right reads, do what you're coached to do and lead the team. That's what it boils down to."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.