- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 2, 2003

If the Washington Redskins were given grades for preseason performances, quarterback Patrick Ramsey likely would have received an “I.” As in “incomplete.”

Despite their best intentions to give Ramsey as much exhibition playing time as possible, the Redskins enter Thursday night’s season opener against the New York Jets without a real good read on their second-year quarterback’s progress.

“He hasn’t played much,” coach Steve Spurrier said. “Actually, he really needed to. We probably got a little scared and held him out. … We need to let him earn his way as we go.”

In four preseason games, Ramsey was on the field for just 17 offensive series (three in the opener at Carolina, two last week at Jacksonville). He wound up completing 24 of 46 passes for 309 yards, one touchdown, one interception and a decidedly average 71.7 quarterback rating (down one-tenth of a point from his regular-season rating as a rookie).

Ramsey bruised the knuckle on his right index finger during Washington’s second preseason game, missed a couple days of practice, then was held out most of the Jacksonville game to avoid any other possibility of injury.

The whole process, he said, didn’t give him much opportunity to get in sync with his offense.

“We’d go in there for a couple of series, and then we’d go in there for almost a half, then a half and then a couple of series again,” Ramsey said. “We need to try to get our rhythm going.”

That said, Ramsey feels he has grown by leaps and bounds since his rookie season. For a quarterback who has only five career starts on his professional resume, any experience is valuable experience, and he thinks he got enough over the last month.

“I made some better decisions and minimized mistakes, and we were able to hit some big plays,” Ramsey said. “I feel a lot more confident than I did [last year]. I’m more sure of myself than I was last year, that’s for certain.”

Hamdan added to practice squad

The Redskins re-signed five players they cut over the weekend to the practice squad yesterday, headlined by rookie quarterback Gibran Hamdan.

Joining Hamdan, who despite his inability to dress for games remains Washington’s No. 3 quarterback, on the practice squad are wide receiver Scott Cloman, tight end Kevin Ware, defensive lineman Nic Clemons and linebacker Clifton Smith.

The players were informed of their release by the Redskins on Saturday morning, and with NFL clubs having until noon yesterday to claim them, they had plenty of time to sweat out their futures.

Hamdan, however, made the most of his free weekend. The former Bishop O’Connell High School star went back to his alma mater and watched his brother Bush quarterback the Knights to a 36-0 win over Bishop Ireton.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen my brother play football his entire career,” said Gibran Hamdan, who spent the last five years at Indiana before the Redskins selected him in the seventh round of April’s NFL Draft. “That was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in a long time. I didn’t really have much time to think about [my status with the Redskins], because I was able to enjoy going to watch him.”

Unlikely friends

LaVar Arrington has become particularly close with one of his new teammates. His name may surprise you: John Hall, the Redskins’ new kicker.

“I think J. Hall is huge,” Arrington said of the former Jets kicker. “I told him he could wear my jersey if he wants. … J. Hall is my guy.”

So how in the world did Arrington, a Pro Bowl linebacker, become friends with a kicker of all people? Perhaps it has something to do with Hall’s linebacker-like physique (6-foot-3, 240 pounds) and mentality, not to mention his reliability under pressure. He made all six of his field-goal attempts during the preseason.

“Not only that, he’s just a down-to-earth guy,” Arrington said. “I enjoy being around him. A lot of times, you don’t really get an opportunity to form relationships with your kickers. You look at kickers almost like they’re not a part of the team. But J. Hall, we even got him in a dark-colored jersey [worn by defensive players]. We love him.”

Extra points

Rookie wide receiver Taylor Jacobs is expected to be released from the hospital today. Jacobs won’t play in Thursday’s game after suffering “abdominal trauma” when he landed awkwardly at the end of the preseason finale at Jacksonville. …

Club officials said none of their recently released players, including running back Kenny Watson, was claimed by another NFL team before yesterday’s noon deadline. It was thought by some that Watson, who ran for 534 yards last season, would get picked up by another team, perhaps the running-back depleted Detroit Lions.

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