- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 30, 2003

What goes around has finally come around for Dan Snyder. After years of treating many of his employees like something stuck to the bottom of his shoe, the Redskins owner has been blown off by Danny Wuerffel, who the team was hoping to re-sign as the backup quarterback. Unlike Vinny Cerrato and Joe Mendes — to name just two — Wuerffel had the intestinal fortitude, or perhaps the common sense, to Just Say No to Snyder.

Bully for him.

The Redskins, you may recall, sent out a distress signal to Wuerffel during training camp, when doubts about Rob Johnson began to surface. And Danny, who was dumped after last season along with the rest of the University of Florida contingent, was good enough to let bygones be bygones and come back to help out his old college coach, Steve Spurrier.

But then he was cut a second time, despite a fine performance in the preseason finale, because Snyder feared his presence might be detrimental to the development of Patrick Ramsey. With Wuerffel to turn to, Dan the Man figured, Spurrier might not be patient enough with Ramsey.

Imagine Snyder worrying about other people not being patient.

Anyway, Johnson just didn’t work out — which is a whole ‘nother story. Despite eight years of NFL experience in a variety of offenses, he never seemed to grasp the Fun’n’ Gun or to mesh with Spurrier (though the latter may have been because the Ball Coach wanted Wuerffel instead of him). Whatever the reasons, it was clear from the get-go that he was the wrong quarterback for the Redskins, which makes you wonder why they brought him here in the first place.

Of course, we find ourselves wondering that about a lot of players.

The Redskins are trying to spin this unfortunate turn of events as best they can. Wuerffel, they say, has a wife who’s about to give birth. Wuerffel, they say, is involved with his ministry. But that’s just a smoke screen. Danny was perfectly willing to play for the Redskins this season — as he showed when he suddenly appeared one day at camp. What he was not willing to do was bail out — a second time — a club that had treated him shabbily, as it has so many other people.

Chalk it up as yet another Dan Snyder miscalculation. The first miscalculation was thinking Johnson, a disappointment in Buffalo and a nonentity last season in Tampa Bay, would be a suitable backup for Ramsey. He washed out after just seven games — which is unusual for a No. 2 QB who hasn’t, say, committed a felony.

The second miscalculation was thinking Wuerffel would be readily available if the Redskins ever needed him; all they had to do was snap their fingers. Now they know otherwise. Instead of forgiving and forgetting, Danny, a man of God, decided to do unto others as they have been doing unto him.

This is what happens when you try to run a team like a Middle East despot. Eventually, folks get tired of your act and don’t want to work for you. It’s not that Wuerffel is a great player — far from it. But he’s a useful one to the Redskins because he’s one of the few quarterbacks in the league who actually knows and understands Spurrier’s system. Other clubs don’t have this problem. Most teams run some variation of the West Coast offense, and QBs schooled in that offense are plentiful. But Spurrier’s Fun ‘n’ Gun is, if not unique, certainly different. Anybody can’t just walk in and operate the thing — as Johnson proved.

Certainly not Tim Hasselbeck, who was signed off the street the other day to take Johnson’s spot on the roster. And certainly not rookie Gibran Hamdan, fresh off the practice squad, who hardly played in college. And yet, these are Spurrier’s alternatives should Ramsey get his bell rung by La’Roi Glover on Sunday. Not a pretty picture.

Having Wuerffel around also might have helped sooth Ramsey’s jangled nerves. After getting sacked 22 times — and pillaged on countless other occasions — the kid must be seeing blitzing linebackers in his sleep. Johnson wasn’t able to offer Ramsey much assistance at all; heck, he knew less about the offense than Patrick did.

So that’s where the Redskins stand as they begin the most crucial part of their schedule: Tim Hasselbeck and Gibran Hamdan (take your pick) are a head slap away from being the Washington quarterback. Maybe Snyder should hold a contest and let the winner be the backup QB. The club probably wouldn’t be any worse off.

Brad Bedell gets cut — and then gets brought back. Zeron Flemister gets cut — and then gets brought back. Danny Wuerffel gets cut, brought back, cut again — and then the team offers him another job. Cerrato, Mendes … Does anyone else get the feeling this team is going in circles?

Kind of like water does before it disappears down the drain.

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