- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Washington Redskins quarterback Patrick Ramsey finally returned yesterday, but the team's first-round draft pick appears to be fourth on the depth chart.
Quarterback Danny Wuerffel completed nine straight passes, Shane Matthews worked the short game and Sage Rosenfels took some deeper shots. Ramsey may be the long-term prospect, but the threesome competing for the top two positions and the starting job seem increasingly comfortable in coach Steve Spurrier's system.
"We're starting to get an idea of what we're trying to do," Spurrier said. "We have new guys that haven't done anything on offense. That's the fun part of coaching these quarterbacks and receivers."
Ramsey missed the first five days of the two-week coaching session because rookies weren't allowed to return until at least May 15. Ramsey and running back Ladell Betts, a second-round pick, then attended an NFL meeting for high draft picks Monday.
But Ramsey spent the past month reviewing the playbook and even dreamed of completing 15 straight passes. He didn't participate in team drills because Spurrier prefers to rotate only three passers, but just watching cleared some questions from the playbook.
"This was very encouraging," Ramsey said. "I studied the playbook, but I didn't have any film to watch. When I got out here and saw what they were trying to accomplish it made so much more sense than the first minicamp. I pick up small things. Danny does such a good job of knowing when the play's dead and dump it off to a back."
Matthews met Ramsey for the first time since signing April 29 following minicamp. He understands the limitations of any rookie passer.
"Patrick can't just jump in here and go," Matthews said. "The speed of the game is totally different. It's extremely fast when you're trying to think of what the guys around you are doing. That's what he's going to do for the first couple months because you can't just go out and play if you're thinking too much. I came here to play, but obviously he is the future of this franchise. Patrick has one of the best arms I've seen in a long time, but you have to know how to use that arm."
The Redskins worked on the red zone offense that often befuddled them last season. The offense often has the advantage in light drills because the pass rush isn't factored, but the defense won a few snaps, including defensive end Otis Leverette's interception and linebacker Jeremiah Trotter's batted pass. The tone of the practice often took an intense midseason feel of red vs. white, which reflected growing chemistry despite as many as nine new starters.
Still, the offense has grown greatly since minicamp three weeks ago, with receivers becoming more confident of routes. Jacquez Green and Darnerien McCants worked the corners, while Kevin Lockett scored by leaping from the 3-yard line. The score brought protests from secondary players, with cornerback Fred Smoot running from the sideline to razz Lockett.
"We're going to score a lot of touchdowns, and I just want to get used to it early," Lockett said. "The defense gets upset when guys score on them, but that's the competition."
The competition sometimes became heated. Despite wearing only shorts and jerseys, the smacking among linemen yielded grunts and tumbled players.
"Time to time, guys get to going too fast and hit each other a little too hard," offensive tackle Chris Samuels said. "I saw one guy sucker punch somebody."


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