- The Washington Times - Monday, August 18, 2003

Quarterback Patrick Ramsey sat out yesterday’s practice with a bruised hand, and coach Steve Spurrier wasn’t sure about his return for Saturday’s third preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Rob Johnson and Danny Wuerffel got the bulk of practice snaps in place of Ramsey, who hurt his hand in Saturday’s loss to New England but continued to play until the end of the first half.

Ramsey was optimistic he would return to practice in coming days and play Saturday. Spurrier at one point seemed to agree, saying, “Yeah, he’s supposed to be ready.”

But a few minutes later the coach was more pessimistic.

“He may be bad,” Spurrier said. “We may have to go with Rob and Danny if he doesn’t get any better. He says he’s going to be fine, but you don’t know until you get to the end of the week.”

Said Ramsey: “It’s pretty swollen. I had a little trouble gripping the ball, and they just decided rather than making it worse, I’d try to sit out and let it heal up today. Hopefully I’ll be able to practice tomorrow, and I hope and expect to play on Saturday.”

The injury is to the knuckle at the base of Ramsey’s index finger. He had his hand wrapped.

Johnson has reinforced his No.2 spot on the depth chart in recent weeks, playing noticeably better since Wuerffel signed on Aug.3. Wuerffel did not play against the Patriots, with rookie Gibran Hamdan getting a late series.

Joining Ramsey on the sideline were right guard Randy Thomas (knee, ankle) and left tackle Chris Samuels (overheated Saturday). Though neither is injured seriously, the Redskins were left with just two healthy line starters — Jon Jansen, who moved to left tackle for the day, and left guard Dave Fiore.

Meanwhile, running back Ladell Betts returned to regular practice, though the Redskins did not do much hitting. Today should be a better test for Betts, who missed all but one training camp practice because of a sprained elbow.

The missed time eroded Betts’ chance to be a starter. A number of club officials had thought he was on the verge of a breakthrough and that he could have beaten out Trung Canidate and Kenny Watson. Now, the more immediate concern is getting into game shape.

“I’m not far behind from a standpoint of knowing what to do, because I was here last year,” Betts said. “But as far as game condition, I might be a little behind in that area. But that will come now that I’m able to practice.”

Sides far apart

The Redskins and cornerback Champ Bailey have a wide difference of opinion on Bailey’s value following opening discussions Sunday night, NFL sources said.

The Redskins made the opening proposal over dinner with agent Jack Reale. The terms of their offer were unclear, but sources said Bailey was expecting far more. The three-time Pro Bowl corner said he expects to be among the NFL’s highest-paid defensive players.

Bailey declined comment after practice.

“I’m not really getting into it,” Bailey said. “I’m pretty much letting Jack handle everything.”

Bailey is scheduled to enter unrestricted free agency next spring, where he could expect guaranteed money in the neighborhood of $18 million and average annual compensation around $7.5 million.

The sides are expected to follow up on their initial conversation late this week.

Ohalete elevated

The Redskins are giving safety Ifeanyi Ohalete a look with the starters after David Terrell yielded an 85-yard touchdown pass on Saturday.

“We’re giving him a chance right now to work with the first unit, and that’s all there is to it,” defensive coordinator George Edwards said. “We’re giving Ifay a shot in there, which we were planning on doing all along anyway.”

Because Ohalete is more of a strong safety and Terrell is a free safety, Matt Bowen is switching spots to accommodate the experiment. However, Edwards continued to stress his safety positions are interchangeable.

Also elevated to the starting lineup was center Lennie Friedman. Friedman outplayed Wilbert Brown on Saturday but still would be a reserve to Larry Moore, who is sidelined with a torn PCL. Spurrier was upbeat about Moore’s recovery and confident he would play in the Sept. 4 opener against the New York Jets.

Special teams problems

The Redskins cut safety Rashidi Barnes, a move Spurrier linked to the team’s continued poor performance on special teams. Washington yielded a kickoff return touchdown and a long punt return this preseason, and has not had any runbacks of note.

“Even though we’re playing a lot of players who are not going to be on the team, they should be busting their tail, they should be playing a little better,” Spurrier said. “We’re a pretty bad cover team right now, and hopefully we’ll get better.”

Meanwhile, punter David Leaverton began his competition against incumbent Bryan Barker after Brent Bartholomew was cut. Barker performed very well in a punt-off against Bartholomew Saturday night.

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