Ramsey on slippery perch as Redskins starter

Fourth-year QB expects to do well, but Brunell, Campbell are in wings

Pro Football

August 05, 2005|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

ASHBURN, Va. - Among the Washington Redskins' offensive starters, tackles Jon Jansen and Chris Samuels are 1-2 in seniority, with Jansen entering his seventh season with the team and Samuels his sixth.

Behind them is a group that includes Patrick Ramsey, the embattled quarterback who enters his fourth year in Washington as - for now - the team's starter.

"I haven't really thought about that," Ramsey, 26, said when informed of his longevity with the franchise that used the last spot in the first round of the 2002 draft on him. "I feel like it's a year for me to come in here and play well and have a good year."

Whether Ramsey - who was the subject of trade talks between the Redskins and the Chicago Bears before his first NFL training camp - will remain the team's starting quarterback is debatable.

Although backup Mark Brunell, 34, showed his age in compiling a 3-6 record as a starter last year and first-round draft choice Jason Campbell, 23, is too inexperienced, both were hand-picked by coach Joe Gibbs.

Campbell, in particular, is a Gibbs favorite. The organization traded three draft picks to the Denver Broncos for the chance to take the Auburn star. And Gibbs continues to profess his admiration for Brunell.

Yet the coach has maintained for the past several months that Washington will open the regular season Sept. 11 against the Bears at FedEx Field with Ramsey at quarterback.

"I felt like Patrick had a very good offseason," Gibbs said, offering another vote of confidence for the Tulane alumnus. "I think he feels comfortable and looks comfortable, and he's made real progress in a lot of ways."

Ramsey, who went 3-4 as a starter last season, completing more than 60 percent of his passes in five of those games, will have to continue his progress in what could amount to a one-year tryout for Gibbs.

Although he has connected on 55.6 percent of his passes in his career and owns a 74.4 passer rating, Ramsey has a 9-14 record as a starter and has finished a game with more interceptions than touchdowns nine times.

Building a rapport with new wide receivers Santana Moss and David Patten might prove challenging, but Ramsey worked with the pair during much of the offseason.

The return of Clinton Portis to the backfield and another year in the NFL for Gibbs - who is installing the shotgun for the first time in his career and has hired quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave - could bode well for Ramsey.

"I do feel like it's my best opportunity, and I feel fortunate to be able to come in here and be a part of this and to be starting this year," he said. "I want to earn that early and get this team off to a good start."

Ramsey is taking a majority of the snaps in training camp this week. Unlike last year, when he split reps with Brunell, Ramsey is lining up with the first unit on 11-on-11 drills every time.

"It is helpful to go in there and start a drive," he said. "If we're going two minutes, I want to be the first one out there to run the two-minute [drill] and set a standard there. It's certainly helped to go out there and experience things over and over again."

Patten, who played with New England quarterback Tom Brady en route to three Super Bowl victories in four years, said he sees potential in Ramsey.

"I see the way he's running the huddle," Patten said. "It seems like ever since we got started in the OTA [offseason training activities] practices, every offensive session, he's just getting more and more confident. He's starting to really take control and command of the offense. ... I'm excited about what I see in him."

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