- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 19, 2006

Just like last August, Patrick Ramsey could be the starting quarterback when the Washington Redskins play their first home preseason game tonight against the New York Jets. Only this time, Ramsey will be in a Jets uniform.

Ramsey, Washington’s first-round selection in the 2002 draft, struggled in his four years with the Redskins. He was sacked 13 times in his first two starts in former coach Steve Spurrier’s pass-happy scheme. His 2003 season ended five weeks early with a broken foot and in 2004 he lost his job to Mark Brunell while he was rehabbing. Just 20 minutes into the 2005 season, Ramsey was benched in favor of Brunell.

Traded to the Jets in March for a sixth-round pick, Ramsey has struggled to regain the form and confidence that made him a starter at 23. Ramsey, who could start tonight now that Chad Pennington (the front-runner in the Jets’ quarterback competition) will miss the game because of a family illness, has steadfastly declined to criticize the Redskins for giving up on him. But his former teammates know he would relish a good showing tonight.

“It will be weird to see Patrick in another uniform,” said Brunell, who remains in contact with Ramsey. “Hopefully, we’ll both get out there early and get to spend a little time together. I want Patrick to do well, but I hope we win by three touchdowns.”

Considering that the Redskins were spanked 19-3 in their opener on Sunday at Cincinnati, while the Jets were whipped 16-3 at Tampa Bay, scoring a touchdown would be progress for both teams tonight.

Injuries caused three changes in Washington’s lineup. Ladell Betts will start at running back for Clinton Portis (shoulder), while Renaldo Wynn returns to his former spot at defensive end in place of Phillip Daniels (back). Kenny Wright fills in at cornerback for Shawn Springs (abdominal surgery). If Brandon Lloyd’s hamstring is too tight for him to play, Antwaan Randle El will start at receiver.

The Redskins’ other starting wideout, Santana Moss, who spent his first four seasons with the Jets before being traded for disgruntled receiver Laveranues Coles in March 2005, looks forward to playing against his former teammates.

“If I had played the Jets last year, I would be missing my friends from there a little more, but it will still be fun to go against those guys,” Moss said. “I’m not going to pay attention to what Laveranues does. I’m just going to do what I do. I’m not trying to show the Jets what they’re missing.”

While Moss and the other Redskins’ starters saw limited action last week against the Bengals, many backups were embarrassingly exposed.

“We had a few guys that had to learn a few hard lessons,” assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said. “The first play you make in an NFL game [and] you get beat on a flea-flicker, you probably won’t forget the rest of your life because I won’t let you forget it. We had a lot of guys that played with the seconds and thirds that stepped up. They have to make some more progress, otherwise we will start trying some more people out.”

Veteran backup quarterback Todd Collins struggled in his Redskins debut with an ugly interception and an intentional grounding call that resulted in a safety. But counterpart Jason Campbell stepped up in his first game since last preseason. The second-year quarterback from Auburn will receive the majority of the snaps tonight after Brunell exits early.

“Jason could play right now, but I think we need to continue to work with him,” coach Joe Gibbs said. “Todd and Jason are still rotating. We want to see them both play a bunch here preseason and then we’ll decide what we’re going to do as we start into the year.”

With Brunell entrenched as the starter, if healthy, Campbell doesn’t feel the pressure to prove he was worth trading three draft picks to Denver for the right to select him last year.

“A lot of guys go into the game putting pressure on themselves, thinking they’ve got to make every play,” Campbell said. “I just want to let the game come to me. The guys around you help make plays, too, and you’ve got to trust them.”


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