- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 27, 2002

Washington Redskins quarterback Patrick Ramsey caught himself looking around when he reached the practice field yesterday. The first-round pick's dream of playing pro football was really happening.

"I said, 'Here I go. Here's what I've been looking for since I picked up a football,'" he said. "This is more than worth [the wait]."

Imagine how Ramsey would have felt if he had thrown a pass in team drills. The rookie was limited to handoff and individual passing drills, the adrenalin charge causing him to bounce a few hard ones off receivers' hands and chests. Coach Steve Spurrier delayed Ramsey's debut against the defense until today.

"Patrick just doesn't quite know everything that's going on yet. We'll get him more involved," Spurrier said. "He needs a lot of practicing, learning our terminology and system. He can throw it. He has a strong arm. He wants to sort of gun it. It takes a while."

The Redskins opened a three-day minicamp looking for a front-running quarterback. There also will be 14 coaching sessions beginning in mid-May to further shape the pecking order before training camp begins July 23.

No one took the early lead after two workouts that Spurrier labeled "average." The defense was clearly ahead during team drills with numerous interceptions and deflections.

"Nobody's looking super. We have to look a lot better than we were pitching around," Spurrier said. "They're coming around. You can't expect perfection right away. We threw some bad balls, [made] bad decisions. Our expectations are pretty high with quarterbacks."

The "Fun 'n' Gun" sputtered at times. The downfield timing was off. The short game was sometimes errant. However, several reverses and long runs energized the offense and showed the scheme's potential.

"There is an extra excitement out here. It's wide open," quarterback Sage Rosenfels said. "The offensive players are excited to see what the magic's all about."

Quarterbacks Danny Wuerffel, Dameyune Craig and Rosenfels worked with the starting offense. Spurrier corrected their head positioning to avoid tipping defenders to the intended receiver and tried to hurry their releases under a steady pass rush. None of the passers seemed overwhelmed by the playbook.

"In some senses, it's the easiest offenses you'll ever run in terms of calling formations and plays," Wuerffel said. "We don't waste a lot of mental part of the game on those things. In terms of decision making approaching the line, it's very complex."

Wuerffel seemingly has the early edge. After all, his six career starts are the only ones among the quartet.

"I try not to have expectations and be prepared for everything," Wuerffel said. "I don't know what could happen. I could be playing and doing well. I could be home without a job. You never know."

Wuerffel has been helping Ramsey despite the possibility of losing his job to the rookie. Wuerffel remembered former New Orleans Saints quarterback Billy Joe Tolliver helped him as a rookie in 1997. Then again, Wuerffel joked he was helping Ramsey with "his left-handed throw."

Ramsey spent the morning session working on handoffs with the running backs and the afternoon with receivers. Mostly, there was a lot of watching and listening.

"They were a little bit faster [than college], but the speed of the game is different," he said. "I'm trying to adjust to every play."

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