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Benched Ramsey seeking to cope

- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 15, 2005

Demoted Washington Redskins quarterback Patrick Ramsey said yesterday he did not request a trade after being told Mark Brunell would start Monday night in Dallas and for the foreseeable future.

Speaking after practice at Redskin Park, Ramsey said all the right things -- he didn't agree with Joe Gibbs' decision, he supports Brunell, he'll prepare the same as backup -- but the disappointment on his face was evident.

"Coach and I talked and what was said is between us, but I haven't specifically told him I want a trade in any way," Ramsey said. "I'm a Redskin right now, and I'm going to concentrate on Dallas this week.

"I wanted to get a chance to play. It's [Gibbs'] decision and he said he had a gut feeling and that's where he's going with this team. ... That's the business we're in. At times, it's very frustrating."

Gibbs confirmed that Ramsey is the No. 2 quarterback and rookie Jason Campbell remains the third-stringer.

"Patrick's handled it better than you would expect somebody to handle it," he said. "I know he doesn't like it. The way he's handled it says a lot about him."

Gibbs ignited the short quarterback firestorm during Sunday's 9-7 win over Chicago when he stayed with Brunell after Ramsey and his strained neck were cleared to return.

Gibbs wouldn't second-guess himself as some are in asking why the coach didn't make the change in the preseason to get Brunell more work.

"I don't really deal in the hindsight thing," he said. "In pro sports, you can't go back and think about the past, you have to deal with the future and base your decisions on what you think is best."

Although most Redskins players weren't surprised by the switch, H-back Chris Cooley and defensive end Renaldo Wynn said the quick hook was unexpected.

"It's tough [for Ramsey], especially since it's the first week," said Cooley, who was one of the quarterback's favorite targets. "He's been planning on starting the season. I would be [ticked] right now if I played and got ready all [preseason] and then it happens in one game. It would be hard for me to say, 'OK, you go ahead and play.'"

Said Wynn: "It's unusual to have a change this early, but this is something Coach Gibbs feels he had to do and he had his reasons for doing it. I thought Patrick would have been given a little bit longer [than 26 snaps and three series before being lifted]."

Jon Jansen has been in Washington longer than any current player (since 1999) and has seen his share of zany things.

"This doesn't quite rank up there with what I would call surprising," Jansen said. "This is definitely a challenge for Patrick, and unfortunately, he has to deal with it."

Since Brad Johnson started every game in 1999 -- the year of the Redskins' last playoff appearance -- the team has made 13 quarterback changes, and this is Gibbs' second in-season change in 10 months. During his first tenure with the Redskins, Gibbs used the same quarterback for the first four-plus years (Joe Theismann) and the last three-plus years (Mark Rypien) of his tenure.

It seems unlikely the Redskins would have shopped Ramsey even if he had asked to be moved. Brunell turns 35 on Saturday, and Campbell is being groomed for the future, not the present.

If the Redskins try to move Ramsey in the offseason, one NFL personnel director said there could be a market.

"I'd probably try to move [Ramsey] because there aren't a lot of guys out there who can play, and maybe a change of scenery will do him some good," he said. "My biggest concern is, can Brunell stay healthy, because 15 games is a long haul."

Brunell lasted three games with Jacksonville in 2003 before an elbow injury forced him to the bench and was slowed last season by a hamstring problem.

"The percentages aren't in Mark's favor to start 15 straight games," Theismann said. "I don't think [Ramsey] should get traded at this point because the quarterback position changes on a weekly basis in this league. All Patrick can do is work hard and if he gets another opportunity, get the job done. I still believe he can play. But maybe it's in another city."

As long as he remains in Washington, Ramsey said his strategy is simple.

"You compete," he said. "That's the only way you go about it. At certain points, pride takes over and you play for pride and to win and to go somewhere in this league."