- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 2, 2002

Well, the Redskins have got themselves another quarterback. After Danny Wuerffel, Sage Rosenfels, Dameyune Craig and No.1 pick Patrick Ramsey failed to distinguish themselves in Minicamp II, Steve Spurrier shouted, "Shane, come back!" and soon enough, Shane Matthews, his former Florida protege, came clip-clopping into Redskin Park.

Not that anybody should be surprised by this. There's been talk of Matthews joining the Redskins ever since Spurrier was named coach. It's just that, after the draft, Steve said the team wouldn't be signing any more quarterbacks because it had "kind of made a commitment" to developing Ramsey and the other QBs on the roster.

"Kind of a commitment," in Spurrierspeak, is about a week, it turns out. No wonder Dan Snyder lusted after him. They're practically twins separated at birth.

(The Redskins, by the way, are still accepting nominations for quarterback. The number of their toll-free hotline is: 1-800-SKINSQB. Operators are standing by.)

Anyway, now that Matthews is in the fold, you have to question the wisdom of drafting Ramsey, even at the bottom of the first round. Why? For starters, because Matthews obviously isn't coming here to hold a clipboard. He's the most experienced quarterback the club has and immediately becomes the odds-on choice to start the opener against Arizona. Two, because Ramsey looked every inch the rookie during workouts last week and is probably years away from being a regular. And three, because the Redskins still have a crying need for an offensive guard and a defensive tackle, areas they didn't address on Draft Weekend.

Yes, Ramsey's a prospect, but here's the thing: There are Patrick Ramseys available in the draft every year. The Redskins could have waited until next year to get their Patrick Ramsey. Especially since Matthews is hardly a doddering old man. He'll be 32 next month and figures to be ambulatory for at least a couple more seasons.

One scouting service gave Ramsey a 7.55 rating on a 10-point scale well below David Carr's 9.38 and Joey Harrington's 9.27. In previous years, the service gave similar ratings to Chris Weinke (7.75), Tee Martin (7.74), Brock Huard (7.32), Brian Griese (7.36), Bobby Hoying (7.74), Chad May (7.76), Eric Zeier (7.17), Jay Walker (7.71), Glenn Foley (7.44), Trent Green (7.04), Will Furrer (7.80), Tony Sacca (7.71), Matt Blundin (7.34) and Craig Erickson (7.17). Ramsey, in other words, is less than a lock to be a quality NFL QB. In fact, his first-round status might be more a case of Snyder and his braintrust reaching out of fear some other team would grab the kid early in the second round.

As the season progresses, the Redskins may wish they had taken one of the following: defensive end Kalimba Edwards, guards Andre Gurode and Toniu Fonoti or defensive tackles Larry Tripplett and Eddie Freeman all of whom went in the next 11 picks. Any of those five might have helped the club sooner than Ramsey figures to. (Gurode, of course, wound up going to Dallas. So if the Redskins blundered by not selecting him, they'll be reminded of it twice a year for the next decade.)

You also have wonder about the way the Redskins seem to be making decisions, major decisions that will affect the course of the franchise. Ramsey was clearly a Snyder pick; Spurrier's lack of enthusiasm afterward suggested as much. And now, after just two days of minicamp, the club has reversed itself and decided it does need Matthews, after all. Lord knows what the Redskins will do if this doesn't work out maybe switch to the single wing.

As for Matthews, he's a serviceable backup quarterback, no more, no less. This is who Spurrier is going to try to win with another team's backup quarterback. Some clown who works for the NFL's Web site wrote that Matthews was "one of the most efficient passers in [Bears] history" and "ranked fourth in passer rating, which even puts him ahead of a Hall of Famer Sid Luckman." Folks, Matthews doesn't even belong in the same paragraph with Luckman, never mind the same sentence. Shane won six games in Chicago; Sid won four championships. But other than that

One of the clubs Matthews will have to beat here is the Eagles, the defending division champs. It just so happens he went up against them in the playoffs last season coming off the bench after starter Jim Miller got hurt and the results weren't pretty: 17 attempts, eight completions, 66 yards (3.9 yards per attempt), no touchdowns, two interceptions, 17.8 passer rating. Final score: Philly 33, Chicago 19 (nine of the Bears' points coming on a defensive touchdown and an intentional safety).

Spurrier might be happy to have another ex-Gator on his side, but I doubt the Eagles' knees are knocking.

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