- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 21, 2005

Third-and-long last year for the Washington Redskins usually meant Tupa Time was looming. The Redskins ranked 28th in third-down efficiency and Tom Tupa’s 103 punts ranked second in the NFL.

But if Patrick Ramsey’s two interceptions in Friday’s 24-17 preseason loss to Cincinnati are momentarily overlooked, one positive that emerged was Ramsey finding Santana Moss and David Patten for third-down conversions.

Patten (three catches, 109 yards) and Moss (two catches, 26 yards) helped Ramsey to a 190-yard passing game.

The Redskins’ starting offense, impotent against Carolina, awakened to post four passing plays of least 20 yards, equal to their season-high in 2004.

“Both [Patten and Moss] have shown they can make plays,” coach Joe Gibbs said yesterday at Redskin Park. “Although we didn’t get anything big to Santana, he showed he can run by people. … David is a very, very good route runner and he has a natural way of selling things — he can give a hint and you’ll see the defense take a big bite.”

Patten averaged 36.3 yards a catch against the Bengals.

“The coaching staff felt [big plays] was an area where the team struggled last year so to come out and make big plays, it will give the coaches confidence to call more of those plays,” Patten said.

The Redskins’ first-team offense produced 10 points and 210 yards (on 28 snaps).

“If we can play like we did [Friday] on offense and avoid the turnovers, I think we’re going to be able to score some points,” Ramsey said.

Ah, the turnovers.

The three giveaways — running the Redskins’ total to seven in two preseason games — was something Gibbs addressed yesterday.

Turnovers were a major reason the Redskins started 1-4 last year. Washington had seven cough-ups in Week2 against the Giants and opponents scored three touchdowns off fumbles in the first five games.

“That’s what killed us in the first part of the season,” Gibbs said. “We have to somehow grasp that. We’ll work on extra things this week. But in the end, it comes down to guys taking it to heart.”

Ramsey certainly took his two mistakes personally. His first interception came in the Cincinnati end zone, the second when the Redskins were on the Bengals’ 38.

“We had some plays where we got the ball downfield, which was encouraging,” Ramsey said. “But even more discouraging was the turnovers. … If you don’t learn from it, then it’s all for naught, especially in the preseason.”

Said Patten: “It takes time. We have two weeks left and come September, we’ll hopefully be hitting on all cylinders. We had two turnovers and we know we can’t afford those. But if you’re going to make those types of mistakes, you might as well do it now.”

Notes — Gibbs reported no series injuries from Friday and said running back Clinton Portis (elbow) remains day-to-day and a decision on his status for Friday’s game against Pittsburgh will be made later in the week. …

After three weeks at the National Conference Center, the Redskins broke camp this weekend, allowing the veterans to return home.

Gibbs said the plan entering Friday was to play rookie quarterback Jason Campbell, who did not appear against the Bengals, for a third of the game. “I decided to go with Patrick a little longer and give our offense some rhythm and hit some things,” he said. “I would have loved to get Jason in but we ran out of time and because we played Patrick so long, I gave Mark [Brunell] a chance to finish it up and maybe bring us back.”

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