- The Washington Times - Friday, October 31, 2003

Though he has had just nine days to learn the Fun’n’Gun offense, Tim Hasselbeck will be one snap away from playing quarterback for the Washington Redskins tomorrow in Dallas.

Coach Steve Spurrier yesterday named the recently signed journeyman, who has never thrown a pass in the NFL, as No.2 behind Patrick Ramsey and ahead of rookie Gibran Hamdan. Despite his inexperience, Hasselbeck has learned enough of the Redskins’ playbook to be ready, Spurrier said.

“He’s really coming around nicely,” Spurrier said. “Gibby’s done all right, but Tim, even though he’s just played some preseason games in the NFL, has got a little bit more experience and seems to have a little more overall veteran feel to him right now.”

Hasselbeck, 25, signed Oct.22 after the team released veteran backup Rob Johnson. He has since taken a crash course in the Fun’n’Gun, and he’s not done yet.

“I feel like I have a good enough grasp on things for now,” said Hasselbeck, who spent time last year with Philadelphia and Carolina. “What’s today, Friday? I still have another day and a half to really study it hard.”

Earlier this week, Spurrier seemed to be leaning toward promoting Hamdan off the practice squad to be No.2. But the undrafted rookie hasn’t shown the coaching staff enough to prove he’s ready to take over in a pinch.

Hasselbeck is well-versed in Washington’s game plan for the Cowboys and is reasonably confident he could fill in if needed. (Ramsey has been knocked out of the last two games.)

“I didn’t really think about it too much,” Hasselbeck said. “I just thought about coming in and learning as much as I could as fast as I could. Really, whatever decision was made, it wasn’t going to affect me. I was either going to be the second guy or the third guy. In my mind, I just needed to learn as much as possible and be ready in that situation.”

Smoot might play

Cornerback Fred Smoot, who has been out since bruising his sternum Oct. 19 against Tampa Bay, has practiced the last two days and said he plans to start tomorrow alongside Champ Bailey.

“I’m basing it on how I feel,” Smoot said. “I think I can play.”

The decision likely won’t be made until game time, but the Redskins certainly would benefit from Smoot’s presence. No. 3 corner Rashad Bauman is still hampered by a sprained ankle and remains “very doubtful,” according to Spurrier.

The Cowboys have one of the deepest receiving corps in the NFL with Terry Glenn, Joey Galloway and Antonio Bryant, and Washington will need all the healthy corners it has to keep the trio in check.

As it stands, if Smoot plays, safety David Terrell would be the No. 3 cornerback. If Smoot can’t go, Terrell would start, and seldom-used rookie Ade Jimoh would become No. 3. Calvin Carlyle, signed earlier this week, also would be activated.

Smoot, who has yet to give or take any hits since being injured, plans to wear protective padding on his chest and play through the pain.

“My team needs me,” he said. “I need to be there for my guys.”

Canidate still doubtful

The prognosis isn’t good for running back Trung Canidate, who Spurrier said remains “very doubtful” with a high ankle sprain.

Canidate has not played since the Tampa Bay game. Fellow tailback Ladell Betts broke his left forearm two weeks ago in Buffalo and is unavailable this week. That means the Redskins are all but certain to go with a feature back consortium of Rock Cartwright (a fullback), Chad Morton (a return specialist and occasional scat back) and Sultan McCullough (an undrafted rookie with no NFL experience).

“There’s a limit on what you can do, depending on who’s in there,” Spurrier said. “Obviously, Chad is not big enough to block linebackers, so that’s something you always have to think about. … We’ll try to utilize what we’ve got. We’ll try to get them in there and let them do what they do best.”

Extra points

Nose tackle Jermaine Haley (broken thumb) practiced all week with a cast on his right hand and said he expects to start tomorrow. “I’m doing all right,” he said. “I’m feeling good. I should play.” …

The Redskins signed tight end Kevin Ware off the practice squad and waived offensive lineman Brad Bedell. The move gives Washington three active tight ends (Ware, Byron Chamberlain and Zeron Flemister) for the first time this season. … After signing defensive tackle Darrell Russell earlier this week, the Redskins cut defensive end Ron Warner.

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