- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 4, 2003

Patrick Ramsey clearly was not ready for the first test of his injured right foot. The Washington Redskins quarterback had to be carted from practice yesterday after he dropped back, failed to sustain a plant and fell.

Ramsey then was whisked from Redskin Park for an examination, where an X-ray revealed no new damage to the old fracture in his foot, according to Ramsey and a club official. The team remained relatively upbeat about his condition; Ramsey said he actually hopes to practice again today. He continues to be listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants at the Meadowlands.

However, the specter of shutting down Ramsey’s season is looming large again. He was eager to get back on the field yesterday after more than a week of inactivity, but the setback demonstrated that it might not make sense for him to play anytime soon.

In recent conversations, Ramsey indicated that he would consider ending his season if he didn’t show improvement by the end of this week. He is expected to have surgery in the offseason regardless.

Ramsey didn’t speak directly to reporters following the injury. He returned to Redskin Park about an hour after leaving for the examination. On his way back out, he declined comment while being ushered to a function at the White House with his wife, Virginia.

Through a team spokesman, Ramsey had this to say: “I was out there practicing, and it really felt good. I was throwing the ball well. Unfortunately, I went back there and planted on my fifth step and slipped. I just kind of re-aggravated the injury, just a little bit sore. I put it back in the boot, went to the doctor to get it X-rayed. … The X-rays came back the same as they’ve been, so there’s no change really in what’s going on. It was just sore. We’re going to put it back in the boot and take it from there.”

Coach Steve Spurrier said he liked the way Ramsey was moving around before the setback. According to Spurrier, he took most of the first-string snaps.

“He was able to set up and throw without pain,” Spurrier said. “He looked like he was ready to play. But we’ll have to wait until tomorrow [and] Friday to see if he continues to look like he was ready to play.”

Tim Hasselbeck once again is the odds-on starter, a week after completing 22 of 42 passes for 231 yards and an interception. In 13/4 games, he has impressed teammates with his poise and competency, but he wasn’t able to make crucial plays in the Nov.23 loss at Miami or last weekend’s to New Orleans.

Against the Saints, it was clear that Hasselbeck has a weaker and more inaccurate arm than Ramsey. But Ramsey was errant and panicky in the pocket in his last full game Nov.16 at Carolina. Ultimately, teammates said, there isn’t a radical difference between the passers.

“You always notice some differences,” offensive tackle Jon Jansen said. “Each player does things a little different. But [Hasselbeck has] been able to come in and play extremely well. Given some more time, I think he’ll continue to prove himself.”

This week Hasselbeck hopes to use his increasing knowledge to attack the way the Giants’ defense plays him. So far he has utilized few audibles, a big part of Spurrier’s offense, but he thinks he now is better prepared to identify unfavorable mismatches and get out of bad plays.

“Now my preparation can be more on what the defense is doing, rather than just on what we’re doing,” Hasselbeck said.

Although Hasselbeck fumbled twice last weekend, he has been sacked just once. He credited that to his time in Philadelphia under Eagles coach Andy Reid, who told him, “Get the ball out of your hands.”

Said Jansen: “He’s got a list of priorities. Right now, where he hasn’t mastered the offense, he knows where his help is, or where there are blitzers and we can’t pick them up. … He’s done a good job of first understanding that and then moving on to his next priority.”


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