- The Washington Times - Friday, June 7, 2002

Rookie quarterback Patrick Ramsey took his first snap in yesterday's red-zone drill, dropped back quickly and fired a touchdown to Darnerien McCants.
Cornerback Champ Bailey made a nice play on Ramsey's second throw, coming down with an interception in the right corner. But Ramsey rebounded moments later to hit Jacquez Green on a low try for a score, then connected with Chris Doering in stride for another.
Two weeks ago, Ramsey wasn't even participating in team drills as the Washington Redskins conducted offseason practices. This week, as the club held a four-day session leading up to a final three-day minicamp next week, the draft's 32nd overall pick finally began to show off his cannon arm in read-and-react situations.
"I'm trying to put the sum of all the parts together," Ramsey said. "Right now I've kind of learned the parts, and I'm trying to put it all together on the field and make it make sense. It's encouraging and discouraging at the same time, but I'm very, very excited about what's going on."
Coach Steve Spurrier continues to exclude Ramsey from talk of the starting competition among Danny Wuerffel, Shane Matthews and Sage Rosenfels, saying the rookie has "got a long way to go as far as knowledge." But the coach is starting to see the payoff in Ramsey's work, which this week included sessions after practice that lasted as long as 40 minutes.
"Patrick's doing really well," said Spurrier, who usually oversaw the post-practice sessions. "He can really zing the ball around. He's learning our system quickly. He has shown remarkable improvement from the first day he was here."
The dominant feature of Ramsey's passing is the "zing" to which Spurrier referred, the velocity that causes some perfectly aimed balls to bounce off teammates' chests and leaves some receivers shaking their hands from pain.
"He's been lifting weights on that arm," receiver Rod Gardner said with a laugh.
Added Green: "He throws a nice ball. You can deal with a hard ball if it's a spiral coming. It's just the guys who throw hard, wobbly balls. He throws a nice spiral. It's a nice, catchable ball. And over time, he'll learn when to take some off and when to fire it in."
Offensive players say Spurrier made a smart move in holding Ramsey out of team drills early on. Gardner feels it was important for Ramsey to watch other quarterbacks run the plays particularly because Spurrier's offense allows myriad options on any given snap while Green believes the rookie could have been "shell-shocked" by early struggles.
Ramsey, for his part, thinks he capitalized on the time spent watching.
"It was [difficult], but as long as I made the most of the time, I sat and watched and learned, it was good," he said. "I have learned quite a bit since then."
In early practices, Ramsey struggled with his control, sometimes even as he played catch on the sideline with other quarterbacks. Coaches were working on his mechanics trying to get him to hold the ball higher and, especially, farther back and it took time to adjust. Even now, he can make some throws perfectly in individual work but returns to his flawed technique in team drills.
"It's so subconscious that when I go into a team session, I feel myself [reverting]," Ramsey said, acting out his frustration. "I can already tell myself why I did it [as soon as the mistake is made]. Now basically what I've got to do is make his techniques natural for me."
After next week's minicamp, the Redskins will be off until training camp in mid-July. At that point, Ramsey expects to start learning where he fits into this team. For now he's simply concentrating on finding receivers like McCants; later he'll focus on his role.
"I've got to find out what it is first," Ramsey said. "I'm going to try to get better at the quarterback position and then fill my role, whatever it is, to the best of my ability."
Note Free agent receiver Michael Westbrook will visit the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday. The Cincinnati Bengals also are showing interest.
Staff writer Rick Snider contributed to this report.

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