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Ramsey Healthy but Brunell to Start

Sep 12, 2005, 11:23 PM EDT

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Well, there goes one myth out the window.

You know, the “rule” that says that you’re not supposed to lose your starting job because of an injury. It’s one of those time-honored traditions of the game. If you’re injured, not matter how well your replacement plays, you start when you’re healthy enough to do so. Usually when we talk about this, we’re talking about a player who missed at least an entire game, usually a few weeks or more.

Patrick Ramsey lost his job because of an injury that prevented him from playing for about 15 minutes of real time, not game time. He took a dirty hit that should have drawn a flag and almost certainly will draw a stiff fine. After that he stood up, started to wobble a bit and then had to be helped to the sidelines. Soon after it happened he was warming up behind the bench apparently none the worse for wear.

Mark Brunell, however, remained in the game and led the Redskins to a win, albeit one that came without the benefit of a touchdown being scored by the winners. And Joe Gibbs announced today that Brunell would remain in the lineup and that Ramsey, although physically able to play, would sit. From

“I made the decision to start Mark,” Gibbs said in his opening remarks of his Monday press conference at Redskins Park. “I know a lot of people will disagree with this and I understand that. For me, I felt like it was a decision that I had to make.”

Added Gibbs: “I’m looking for someone to establish himself as our quarterback.”

Asked about what he has seen in Brunell during the offseason and the preseason, Gibbs said: “He’s been confident and sure.”

Ramsey started the last seven games of 2004 and Gibbs announced just after the season that Ramsey would be the #1 quarterback in 2005. All through OTA’s, minicamp, training camp and the preseason games Ramsey worked with the first unit. That unit included a pair of speedy new receivers in Santana Moss and David Patten, receivers that were supposed to help take advantage of Ramsey’s strong arm and open up the deep passing game. There seemed to be a commitment to Ramsey, but it lasted about as long as Brittney Spears’ first marriage.

What should be painfully obvious now is that Gibbs doesn’t like Ramsey as a player. If the trade for Brunell, Gibbs hesitance to make a move to Ramsey when Brunell was struggling mightily and the king’s ransom of picks that Gibbs gave up to draft Jason Campbell didn’t already make it obvious enough, this, an 18 minute, 52 second run by Ramsey as the unquestioned starting quarterback makes it perfectly clear.

The turnovers have to be the reason why. In his 18:52 Ramsey threw one interception—a wretched throw right to the defender–and put the ball on the ground twice. Gibbs couldn’t write off Ramsey’s early problems on Sunday as a rocky start; rather, they were the continuation of a pattern. During the preseason Ramsey would make some great passes and throw some killer interceptions

Something else is obvious. Joe Gibbs has looked at this team and has decided that he can sacrifice big plays for safer plays. Brunell threw the ball about as far as he could on Sunday on that play that ended up with the interception being nullified by a pass interference call and it went less than 50 yards in the air. In Gibbs’ view, the Redskins can win with defense, a one-two rushing punch with Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts running behind an improved offensive line, and by playing it close to the vest with a veteran quarterback who makes a minimum of mistakes. Time will tell if this is a formula for success.

  1. Joe - Sep 13, 2005 at 4:57 AM

    I hate to say it, but I’ve seen this movie and the ending sucks. Here’s to another 6-10 season…

  2. Anonymous - Sep 13, 2005 at 11:12 AM

    You have to feel bad for Ramsey, but you also have to give Gibbs credit for moving quickly. Ramsey just didn’t seem confident or comfortable all throughout the pre-season and 1st quarter of the Bears game.

  3. Doug - Sep 13, 2005 at 12:01 PM

    My guess is that this hastens the day we will see Jason Campbell as our starter. I doubt Mark Brunell is the answer, and we sacrificed a lot to get Campbell.

    I don’t like the conservative play calling regardless of who the quarterback is. And I particularly hate that flanker screen, or quick out, or whatever you want to call it. That is a horrible play, and I think we are the only NFL team that still uses it.

  4. Anonymous - Sep 13, 2005 at 1:13 PM

    too bad for ramsey, i understand completely if he requested a trade. It’s certainly obvious taht he doesnt have gibbs’ confidence, and as in any job if your boss doesn’t have confidence in you, you will not succeed. this is the end of the ramsey era in washington.

    on gibbs, i understand his move. everytime ramsey threw a pass, you had to cringe, it was either a big play or an interception. certainly, the turnovers was the deciding factor.

    as for brunell, i surely hope he can lead this team. maybe we can just be the 2000 ravens and have the off not turn the ball over, and let our D do the scoring.

  5. flynbdubs - Sep 13, 2005 at 1:45 PM

    My initial thoughts resemble Joe’s, but I will adopt a wait and see approach. I know 300yds is possible w/ Ramsey, but I think they also come w/ 2 turnovers. Maybe Brunell can come up with 200, one touchdown and no TOs. Can’t wait to find out.

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  6. Scott - Sep 13, 2005 at 2:05 PM

    I don’t give Gibbs credit for moving quickly at all. This move is late. If Ramsey only had 20 minutes of rope, Gibbs shouldn’t have made him the starter in the first place.

    If after the preseason, Joe Gibbs had made Brunell the starter, I would have understood. Brunell didn’t throw any INTs in the preseason, and that would have been reason enough. Making this move now after spending the entire offseason saying Ramsey would start looks very bad.

    The ‘Skins better win Monday night.

  7. mbarnes202 - Sep 13, 2005 at 2:20 PM

    Brunnel played horribly for eight games last year before he got the hook, Ramsey gets a quarter and a half.
    You’re right, Rich, it is painfully obvious that Gibbs doesn’t like Ramsey as a player. He should trade Ramsey. I bet the odds are now over 50% we see Campbell before the season is over.
    New QB, new K, in big D, on Monday Night, against Parcells. If the ‘Skins win this one, Tony Kornheiser will be lubing the bandwagon for a jaunt to Detroit.
    Anyone else worried by the lack of pressure by the front four?

  8. Kounter Trey - Sep 13, 2005 at 2:28 PM

    I understand why Ramsey is ordinarily thought of as ‘the strong-armed one’ and Brunell as the accurate one,’ but frankly I’m not sure Ramsey showed us a particularly strong arm in preseason. As I recall, the Skins tried uncorking a few bombs and my recollection is many of them were WAY off the mark.

    To my eyes, Ramsey is not the unflappable kid-with-a-cannon that we saw under, say, Spurrier. He looks like a scared, clueless QB with an arm that’s average at best.

    Brunell looked fairly sharp in preseason–his throws had a lot more zip than last year. He’s no longer the rag-armed zero he was last year. IF he can be at least average, IF he can manage a game, the team should do fine, given its defense, which appears to be strong again this year.

  9. Anonymous - Sep 13, 2005 at 2:52 PM

    agree with Kounter Trey…ramsey looks scared and clueless in the pocket and therefore cannot manage the game. If brunell can manage the game with no TOs, we mave a great D, then things will be better.

  10. Eddie - Sep 13, 2005 at 4:51 PM

    Well this is no surprise to me. I have always been a Ramsey supporter in the past but if this kid hasn’t got this down in almost 2 seasons he not going to get it. Rasmey doesn’t know how to throw a ball away of no one is open. He throws to many interceptions and doesn’t see the field very well. Brunell has played better than Ramsey in the preason and was able to move the team down the field. I still have figured when you have 4th and goal and you decide to kick the FG instead of going it after your QB had a heck of a drive going. Our defense would have held them I’m sure. Gibbs need to chance like that. The team was lucky to come out with a win on Sunday. Not going to be so easy on Monday Night against Dallas.

  11. Anonymous - Sep 13, 2005 at 5:34 PM

    why didnt joe gibbs dress out seventh round pick nehemiah broughton.they could have use him own 3rd down and own special teams.washington have the nemo juice so use him.nehemiah broughton is the hersel walker of the washington redskins i promise all of will see just give him the dam ball.

  12. Joe - Sep 13, 2005 at 6:07 PM

    Brunnell was one of the worst 2-3 qbs in the league last year. We’re talking about Jonathan Quinn bad. The guy can’t play. It’s that simple.

    Don’t be fooled by the preseason. Hopefully Gibbs remembers that the preseason means nothing. For the first 9 games of last season, when the games counted, Brunnell proved that he can no longer play. He had 3 games with fewer than 100 yards passing. He never generated more than 20 pts in a game. Look up the stats, Ramsey may be turnover prone but at least he can throw the ball downfield and score points.

    And what’s worse, it looks like we have Steve Spurrier in Joe Gibbs clothes for a head coach. If we weren’t already the laughingstock of the league, we are now.

  13. Anonymous - Sep 13, 2005 at 6:26 PM

    Don’t let the passing yardage fool you — the team moved the ball better with Brunell in the game. Ramsey seems like a good guy, but he still plays like a rookie. Every time he drops back, I’m scared out of mind. Brunell isn’t going to throw for 300 yards, but he will convert on third and five and keep the chains moving. And it speaks volumes that players, both current like Patten and Portis and ex like Coles, endorsed him.

  14. Allen in Richmond - Sep 13, 2005 at 6:45 PM

    I was ready before the preseason to endorse Ramsey for the upcoming season. I thought the coaching staff did everything they could to help him succeed. They got faster receivers who might even on occasion get open. They have developed a solid offensive line, and have a top-notch running back in Portis. They even implemented the shot-gun! But unless he were to get the pass protection that Rypien got when we won our last superbowl, he will always be hit and miss. And when he misses, he kills us. Even in the first half last week he put the ball on the ground twice and had one pick. Brunell apparently was injured last year, although I did not know that at the time, and he has looked much sharper in preseason and looked solid in the opener. He has the instincts to feel the oncoming rush, something Ramsey has never had, and can avoid those nasty sacks that Ramsey has always received. I hope Ramsey keeps his head up, because he is one play away from being the starter again if Brunell goes down. Go Skins!

  15. Anonymous - Sep 13, 2005 at 8:32 PM

    Isn’t Brunell left-handed, but Ramsey right-handed? Do y’all think that the success that Brunell versus Ramsey have had in the pocket has anything to do with the fact they face different directions and have different blind sides?

  16. Anonymous - Sep 13, 2005 at 11:18 PM

    All of you who think Brunell will do find are out of your mind. Were you on drugs last year? As soon as he came in he threw an interception, but it was cancelled because of a penalty. You say he makes good decision, he didn’t hesitate to throw into double coverage in the end zone. Pass was incomplete and almost intercepted. He never moved the ball downfield like Ramsey did. What a waste of two new receivers now that Brunell will be pitching the ball 7 yards at a pop. Oh well I quess we will be watchin reruns of last season. Joe has finally last his mind. Maybe, just Maybe he will start Jason Campbell and the ball will go down field. I look for zero points against dallas. I am a redskin fan, but have to say “Brunell Sucks”. From Lewis

  17. Anonymous - Sep 13, 2005 at 11:57 PM

    I think that Gibbs should have made this call at the end of last season. Everyone knew that Gibbs did not want Ramsey as his QB. If he did he wouldn’t have traded all those picks to get Campbell. Joe’s decision to say that Ramsey was his QB all off season just wasted valuable time with the new receivers that could have gone to Brunell and/or Campbell. Not to mention the fact that if Ramsey was traded that the team would have had more cap room to play with. Just a thought! One way or another the team really need to find away to get in to the end zone, and quick!

  18. MDSkinzfan - Sep 14, 2005 at 2:34 PM

    Well another soap opera season begins. I think ramsey played well enough to keep his job. Well enough in relation to Brunel’s pathetic performance last year. I think we foget that Ramsey is only 25 and still has a lot to learn about pro football, especially after enduring a 3 head coaches. I think this is a mistake and we’re looking down the barrel of a 6-10 season. Then guess who’s going to be on the hook and it ain’t the QB! Archives

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