- The Washington Times - Monday, August 23, 2004

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs reiterated a plan to start quarterback Patrick Ramsey in Friday’s preseason game at St. Louis, even though veteran Mark Brunell seems to have taken a commanding lead in the race to start.

From the outset, Gibbs planned to rotate starts for Brunell and Ramsey through the first four exhibitions. But Ramsey struggled in his turn Aug.14 against the Carolina Panthers, and Brunell was particularly efficient (7-for-9, 79 yards) in Saturday’s 17-0 win at Miami.

Through three games, Brunell has hit 17 of 32 passes for 216 yards, one touchdown and one interception, while Ramsey has completed 10 of 27 for 115 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. But Gibbs isn’t ready to name a starter or even say Brunell is in the lead.

“We’ll just continue with our plan, put Patrick out [this] week and go through the four games,” Gibbs said. “We’ll continue to evaluate and make a decision.”

Asked whether the choice would come after the Rams game, Gibbs replied, “I don’t know. It’s whenever I feel the most comfortable. I wouldn’t put a time [on it].”

Regardless of the quarterback Saturday, the emphasis was on the old-school run game of Gibbs’ Super Bowl days. Washington rushed for 181 yards and compiled a nearly 23-minute edge in time of possession. Starting running back Clinton Portis had seven carries for 37 yards and his first touchdown as a Redskin.

Another issue in which Gibbs wouldn’t commit was playing time for the final two preseason games. Although many teams have their starters go about three quarters in the next-to-last exhibition and ease off in the finale, Gibbs said only, “We’re going to go hard the next two weeks, and we’ll just see what happens.”

Jody Foldesy


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