- The Washington Times - Monday, August 1, 2005

This should be Patrick Ramsey’s time.

Ramsey was named the starting quarterback of the Washington Redskins during the offseason. His competition either is too old — Mark Brunell — or too raw — rookie Jason Campbell — to be a serious threat to his job, for now anyway.

At 26, Ramsey is poised to lead the Redskins in passing a fourth straight season, joining Hall of Famers Sammy Baugh and Sonny Jurgensen and Super Bowl winners Joe Theismann and Mark Rypien as the only quarterbacks in club history to do so.

Not that Ramsey is close to a securing a place for his bust in Canton — or even a championship, for that matter.

He has yet to help the Redskins to even a .500 finish. Ramsey has had as many games with three interceptions (three) as he has had with three touchdowns.

The only starting quarterbacks with a worse record than Ramsey’s 9-14 are fellow class of 2002 members David Carr of the Houston Texans and Joey Harrington of the Detroit Lions.

Like Gus Frerotte, the last man to start for three straight seasons at quarterback for the Redskins, Ramsey teases with his potential more than he produces results.

Ramsey also spent part of the 2002 season as the starter. That, however, was in the “everybody go long” offense of former coach Steve Spurrier — an offense as likely to get the quarterback buried under a pile of rushers as it was to pile up highlights.

Coach Joe Gibbs stresses pass protection above all else.

“I do feel like it’s my best opportunity,” Ramsey said. “I feel fortunate to be starting. It’s a year for me to come in and play well.”

But when a reporter used the word “entrenched,” Ramsey demurred.

“I do think of myself as the starter, [but] entrenched is strong,” Ramsey said. “I want to play well in the preseason and show that I deserve it. [Being the starter is] somewhat of a different viewpoint. If we’re going to run a two-minute drive, it’s helpful to be the first one out there, to kind of set a standard.”

Last August, Ramsey was just recovering from the foot surgery that ended his 2003 season prematurely when new coach Gibbs handed his starting job to former Jacksonville Jaguars regular Brunell.

But Brunell was lousy and Gibbs finally was forced to turn to Ramsey for the final seven games. Ramsey wasn’t spectacular — he threw eight touchdowns against six interceptions — but he was much more accurate (65.4 completion percentage) than he had been under Spurrier.

“Last year was a little different role for me,” Ramsey said. “Not that I expect to be handed anything. But my rookie year, I ended up playing a little bit and the following season I started until I got hurt. But it was good for me in the long run. It made me hungry. It made me improve.

“I’ve always had confidence in my abilities. … Where I stand with the guys is what’s different.”

There hasn’t been much question about where Ramsey stands with his teammates ever since he endured 13 sacks in his first two starts without complaint.

“Patrick’s confident and that’s more than half the battle right there,” said offensive tackle Jon Jansen, Ramsey’s close friend. “When he walks through the locker room you know he’s the starting quarterback and that this is his team.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be the Redskins, who only have three starters with more seniority than Ramsey, if some things hadn’t changed.

Gibbs has tinkered with a scheme that produced the third-worst offense in the NFL in 2004: Ramsey has new starting receivers in Santana Moss and David Patten, who are faster but smaller than predecessors Laveranues Coles and Rod Gardner. For now, second-year H-back Chris Cooley is Ramsey’s favorite target.

“I feel like I’ve been here awhile, but that’s a good thing,” Ramsey said. “All receivers in the NFL are fast, but by NFL standards these guys can really burn. These guys have so much speed that they can create a lot of separation. That hopefully gives you an opportunity to create a lot of balls downfield.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who can make it happen, and it’s up to me to find them.”

And to finally find the quarterback that many think he can be.



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