- The Washington Times - Friday, October 11, 2002

With his 90-yard punt return touchdown in Week 2, Jacquez Green provided the Washington Redskins' only real excitement for two games. That burst of speed also was enough to have the Redskins currently ranked fourth in the NFL with a 14.3-yard punt return average.
However, that number is deceiving because Washington has struggled with punt returns since the touchdown against Philadelphia. Green has just 37 yards (a 4.6-yard average) on his eight returns over the past two games while also fumbling one back to the kicking team. The dropoff was particularly noticeable in Sunday's 31-14 victory at Tennessee, when Green managed four yards on his three returns.
"Once you take one back, they're going to hang the ball on you and not give you a chance to do it again," Green said. "Plus, [Tennessees Craig] Hentrich is one of the best punters in the league. He does a good job of hanging the ball up and giving his guys time to cover the kick. You try to average at least 10 yards. You want to make the first guy miss and have your blockers clean out the rest. The first guy downfield hasn't tackled me yet."
Perhaps not, but Green has gained more than five yards on only two of his past eight returns after doing so on three of his first four as a Redskin. He said it's not a matter of his being rusty even though he returned three punts the past two seasons for Tampa Bay and shared the duties this preseason for Washington.
Special teams coach Mike Stock remains confident in his punt return unit.
"We haven't gotten complacent since Jacquez's touchdown," Stock said. "We just need to do our jobs a little better. Jacquez has good judgment. He has done a good job of handling the ball and making decisions.
"A lot of things determine whether you have a great return. First is the punter and the day he has. Next, you have to take care of their outside flyers which we didn't do last week. Then you have to do a good job inside where you're outnumbered 8-6 [because return teams block each flyer with two men]."
Davis still sidelined
Running back Stephen Davis, who missed part of the Tennessee game with a sprained right knee, didn't practice for a second straight day but did some running on the side. Davis plans to practice today and start against the Saints. Coach Steve Spurrier said Kenny Watson, who ran for 62 yards on eight carries against the Titans, would start if Davis can't.
Quarterback Danny Wuerffel, who sprained his right shoulder against the Titans, was the only other player who didn't practice. Left guard David Loverne, who bruised a thigh in Nashville, worked with the second unit again, and Wilbert Brown remained in Loverne's usual spot. Spurrier said receiver Kevin Lockett will make a second straight start.
Ramsey stays cool
Quarterback Patrick Ramsey said he's not feeling any special tension as he prepares for his first start.
"I don't feel any added pressure," Ramsey said when asked if he has it harder than fellow rookie starting quarterbacks David Carr of Houston and Joey Harrington of Detroit, whose teams aren't expected to contend for the playoffs. "I'm just going to go in there and play as well as I can play and this team is going to do the same thing."
Spurrier said Ramsey has carried himself well during his first week as the starter and then added jokingly, "If he plays well, he has handled it super."
While Ramsey was holding out for 16 days this summer, he worked out in New Orleans with fellow unsigned draft pick Donte Stallworth of the Saints.
"Donte's a good friend of mine," Ramsey said. "It did [help me], to have a guy of that caliber to throw to. You can't really replace the speed or the ability that these guys have with just anybody who can catch the ball."
Stallworth, who has 15 catches four for touchdowns is doubtful for Sunday because of an injured hamstring. Ramsey's best friend on the Saints, backup quarterback Jake Delhomme, won't play either unless starter Aaron Brooks gets hurt.
Turned down
The NFL rejected Washington's petition to award Bruce Smith an extra half-sack in last Sunday's game. That leaves the 39-year-old defensive end 11 sacks shy of Reggie White's record of 198.
Staff writer Jody Foldesy contributed to this report.

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