Ramsey is Ready

When the question came out, Patrick Ramsey had an easy, and fast, reply. Would he be OK with not winning the starting job?, a reporter asked him. ''That's a dumb question,'' Ramsey said.

He didn't say it arrogantly, or with any malice. But the point was this: Ramsey still plans on winning the starting job and does not want to settle for anything less. Ramsey is a nice guy, but a fierce competitor in anything he does. He'll get a chance to prove he's worthy of it when he starts tomorrow against the Rams. Ramsey needs to show more improvement. The coaches were pleased with his progress from Week 2 to Week 3, even though his numbers weren't that strong against Miami.

But he did a nice job stepping into his throws, save for one or two times. And he showed an ability to throw the ball downfield more than Mark Brunell, who was seven of nine with six completions to running backs. However, Brunell operated wisely, moved the team and led two touchdown drives; Ramsey was looking more for big plays.

Friday, he'll face a strong pass rush, which will test his ability to operate as smart as Brunell did last week. And it will test his ability to avoid negative plays.

''I want to be smart and check down when I have to and try to make first downs,'' Ramsey said. ''One thing I recognize about this offense is that we won't have a lot of third and longs unless we put ourselves in that situation. ''I'm much more comfortable as far as seeing the field and understanding what's going on.'' Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said he hasn't settled on a starter and might not do so until after the fifth, and final, preseason game. Or he could do it early next week.

As for Ramsey, he wants to see his game management. Nothing is more important in Gibbs' offense. But he wouldn't say that Ramsey needs a fantastic performance to win the job.

''Those guys know what's at stake,'' Gibbs said. ''They just need to be proficient. A lot of times they may be doing better things for us than what the fans see. We just want to continue to evaluate. It's not one game or anything like that. I'm sure Patrick wants to play well and we want him to play well. We want all the quarterbacks to play well.''

Ramsey also said he's closer to Brunell than he ever realized he would be. Brunell often gives him tips and advice on how to handle situations, never fearing that the extra bit of information could help Ramsey unseat him.

''The only time you really consider this being a controversy is when it's a situation where someone is upset over it,'' Ramsey said. ''We know we're competing and we know the situation and we know where we want. We both feel good about it.''

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