Ramsey has a lot to learn

Redskins fans should have learned two things Saturday night: Danny Wuerffel might be a decent backup, maybe more. And Patrick Ramsey can't be expected to deliver immediately.

We learned that much even though Ramsey didn't even make the trip. Ramsey is expected to be in camp this week, maybe as soon as Tuesday. That's when we'll get a better evaluation of where his development is.

But we know this: Sage Rosenfels has studied this offense for six months and even has one year of experience. And he looked very unsure of himself at times in Washington's 38-7 win over San Francisco. Imagine how he would have played had he only had a couple months. We know that, too. He would have played like last season when he was highly erratic.

Maybe Ramsey is a quick study, capable of playing immediately. Maybe he's been at home poring over Steve Spurrier's playbook, diagramming plays for his wife and watching film. Maybe he'll look great in all the throwing drills during practice.

And maybe it won't matter. Because we're betting that when it comes to the games Ramsey will have a lot to learn. Which is why it's unwise to think he could come in and start. If he were capable of that he would not have lasted until the 32nd pick.

Ramsey has a strong arm, a stronger head and a desire to succeed. All of those should be reasons why he's not the next Heath Shuler. But he took himself out of the running for a starting job by not signing on time--both sides are at fault for this.

In truth, he probably never had a shot at the job. Spurrier called the competition a three-man chase, leaving out Ramsey. He left the door open in case the rookie shined, but this is a player Spurrier didn't lobby to pick. Think he's going to name him a starter so soon? But he also knows this offense is largely based on the quarterback's knowledge of it, leading to quick, smart decisions. Which is what Wuerffel, a master of this offense, made Saturday. And it's often what Rosenfels, a novice, didn't.

To expect Ramsey to pick it up in a few weeks and then make strong decisions is a lot to ask. Actually, it's too much to ask.



John Keim also covers the Redskins for The Journal Newspapers.

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