- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 10, 2002

Is quarterback Patrick Ramsey ready to lead the Washington Redskins?

Teammates yesterday debated whether the first-round pick is being asked to do too much when he makes his first start Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. After impressing teammates with two touchdown passes in his debut, a 31-14 victory over Tennessee last weekend, Ramsey will join Heath Shuler and Gus Frerotte in 1994 as the Redskins' only rookie starting quarterback since Norm Snead in 1964.

Some believe Ramsey can also become the locker room and huddle leader.

"A lot of people think because Patrick was a rookie that he would be scared or nervous, but he was very composed," receiver Kevin Lockett said of Ramsey's debut. "He understands that our quarterbacks, regardless of year or age, are the leader of the team. That's exactly what he did. He was the leader of the huddle."

However, some teammates don't want to rush Ramsey into too much responsibility. After all, he's only played one game.

"I wouldn't put that much pressure on a guy," defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson said. "We're going to support him through good and bad, but I wouldn't put the pressure on him leading us. We have plenty of veterans on this team to pick each other up."

Ramsey doesn't shy from the leadership role like some of his 13 predecessors since coach Joe Gibbs' 1993 departure. However, he believes there are other responsibilities that are just as vital.

"I think it's important I do lead out there, but it's more important that I play well," Ramsey said. "You take the compliments, but I can't let myself get too caught up over the attention of one game. I know a lot of people are excited for me, but there's 12 more to go."

Coach Steve Spurrier said Ramsey's first practice as the team's record third starter in three games was productive.

"He threw some good ones, some bad ones, threw some late," Spurrier said. "He's learning."

Jansen talks begin

The Redskins are preparing a contract extension offer for offensive tackle Jon Jansen to prevent him from entering the open market next year. Jansen has missed one snap in 54 games since the Redskins drafted him in the second round in 1999.

Jansen likely would be a premier free agent and get a blockbuster salary. Recently, Philadelphia right tackle Jon Runyon signed a five-year, $30million contract with a $6million bonus, and Cincinnati signed right tackle Willie Anderson to a seven-year, $36million contract with a $7.5million bonus. Comparatively, Jansen's salary cap number this season is $768,000.

The Redskins are about $3million under the salary cap limit after reworking defensive end Bruce Smith's contract to free more than $2.1million.

Health watch

Running back Stephen Davis didn't practice and was listed as questionable for the game against New Orleans. However, he should work today.

Kenny Watson is the No.2 tailback, but Spurrier said he may also activate Ladell Betts. Watson has played ahead of Betts because of his special teams duties, and gained 62 yards on eight carries against Tennessee.

Quarterback Danny Wuerffel (sprained shoulder) also didn't work and is expected to miss two games. Spurrier was undecided whether Wuerffel will be named the No.3 quarterback. Lockett or Jacquez Green could become the emergency passer. Lockett threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Davis on a trick play against Tennessee.

Wilbert Brown apparently will start at left guard over injured David Loverne (bruised quad). Loverne and Kipp Vickers (knee) both practiced despite being listed as questionable.

"Wilbert's done an excellent job of pass blocking in practice," offensive line coach Kim Helton said. "We'll see how he plays, but he'll play hard."

Linebacker LaVar Arrington (sprained wrist) was limited to individual drills and is hampered with a cast. Still, Arrington and Wilkinson (sprained wrist) will play. Wilkinson said his wrist has improved greatly over recent weeks.

Who's sorry now?

Saints coach Jim Haslett said there's no need for Spurrier to apologize for questioning whether Haslett's long hours were worthwhile after his team finished 7-9 last year.

Haslett was upset by a comment Spurrier made during the offseason, according to NFL sources. However, Haslett dismissed the notion of any bitterness between staffs.

"[Spurrier would] be apologizing to half the college ranks," Haslett said of Spurrier's sometimes colorful remarks.

Spurrier said his comment was "blown out of proportion" and that he meant long hours don't always ensure success.

"I went on to say the coaches from Cincinnati spend as much time as the coaches from Oakland on offense," he said. "It doesn't correlate. I don't believe in it. If it correlated, every coach in the league would sleep in their office if it helped them win."

Reminded that former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs won three Super Bowls while often sleeping in his office, Spurrier responded, "He did pretty well, but I think he would have done well if he didn't sleep here."

Staff writer Jody Foldesy contributed to this story.

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