- The Washington Times - Monday, December 1, 2003

The Patrick Ramsey watch got some upbeat news yesterday.

The Washington Redskins quarterback plans to test his injured right foot in practice tomorrow in the hope he might play Sunday against the New York Giants.

“I took the cast off today,” Ramsey said. “It’s a little bit sore still. I’m going to try to practice on Wednesday. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll put it back in the cast and evaluate it Saturday or maybe after the game.”

Ramsey has been scrutinized daily for two weeks after revealing that an old fracture flared up. He made it through two series in the Nov.23 loss at Miami before going down with a concussion, then sat out Sunday’s loss to New Orleans because of the fracture.

Gone yesterday were the ominous undertones of last week, when Ramsey mentioned several times the possibility of shutting down his second season. This time he quickly shrugged off that scenario.

“I hope not,” Ramsey said. “I’m holding out hope that I’m going to be able to play — this week and throughout the rest of the season. … It’s still sore. But I don’t think it’s a case of being able to withstand the pain, as much as it is being able to push off the foot, move around in the pocket and throw the ball effectively.”

Russell plans return

A day after flashing his best play of the season, defensive tackle Darrell Russell said he plans to give Washington the first shot to re-sign him.

Russell, who signed Oct. 29 after being reinstated from a league-imposed suspension, rarely made his presence felt until Sunday. Although he was credited with two assisted tackles against New Orleans, he penetrated the backfield several times and gave Washington some of the interior push Daryl Gardener provided last season.

The Redskins received some criticism for signing Russell so quickly after his release by Oakland and for paying him the prorated amount of a $1.5 million deal without getting him to agree to a second season. The critics’ thinking was Russell would work himself back into shape but contribute little, then get his payday as a free agent.

But yesterday, Russell spoke about returning the good faith Washington showed when it took a chance on his reputation and signed him.

“Whether we get to free agency or not, the Redskins have the first crack,” Russell said. “I wouldn’t disrespect them like that. They gave me an opportunity and a chance, so if I’m going to go anywhere, my first place is to go here, go to the table and see how things go.”

Vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato said the club likes the idea of Russell signing long-term but hasn’t gotten to a point of making a decision about the tackle’s future.

Russell remains behind Lional Dalton, who has made some plays since becoming the starting nose tackle, and Bernard Holsey, who has started all 12 games at the three-technique. Russell’s conditioning was questioned by Spurrier several weeks ago but seems to be improving.

“I think I’ve pretty much got my legs back,” Russell said. “Weight’s still an issue. I think I can get there a lot quicker once I get my weight where it needs to be. But I’m losing it at a slow, steady pace. I lost seven [pounds] last week; lose another seven, eight this week, I’ll be pretty much there.”

Bailey ‘can play better’

Cornerback Champ Bailey admitted he can improve his play in a season when every mistake is scrutinized because of his impending contract negotiations.

On Sunday, Bailey was flagged for two pass-interference penalties, both on Saints scoring drives. Earlier this year, he had a lousy game against the Giants, a terrific game against New England and impressed many by getting on the field several times with a bum shoulder.

Asked to evaluate his season overall, Bailey replied: “It’s OK. I don’t think I’ve done anything extraordinary. I’ve held my own, but I know I can play better in some games than I’ve done. I’m never satisfied. You’d never get a satisfactory grade out of me.”

The three-time Pro Bowl pick rejected Washington’s nine-year, $55 million proposal in the preseason. He is scheduled to be a free agent, but the Redskins are threatening the franchise tag. If he hits the open market, despite an up-and-down year Bailey would command a huge deal.

Extra points

Center Larry Moore is ready to resume practice after missing four straight games to a sprained foot. However, coach Steve Spurrier said Moore won’t necessarily get his job back from Lennie Friedman, who has played well in relief.

“We’ve really been impressed with what [Friedman has] done in there,” Spurrier said. “So we’ll have to decide who goes and plays.” … Wide receiver Rod Gardner is expected to play at New York despite a deep arm bruise that caused him to miss Sunday’s second half. … Wide receiver Darnerien McCants said he was healthy enough to play Sunday despite a bruised knee. Coaches decided to hold him out because he hadn’t practiced all week, according to Spurrier.

The Redskins re-signed running back John Simon and released offensive lineman Pita Elisara.

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