RAMSEY LEARNING

The play typified what Patrick Ramsey is capable of. And also trying to rid himself of. It happened in the preseason win at Tampa Bay, when Ramsey fired a touchdown pass on a corner route, the throw barely eluding a Bucs' fingertips.

''I could have thrown it over the top, but I fired it in there,'' Ramsey said. ''If I had thrown it at the same trajectory without much speed, he might have [intercepted] it.''

Ramsey is the only Redskins quarterback who can make that throw. Certainly, his arm is one reason he might start against Tennessee--and it's why he was drafted in the first round.

But his arm isn't the only reason he might start. Coach Steve Spurrier said he knows who will start, but he's waiting to see what happens over the next week. Perhaps he wants to see how much Ramsey has learned, and whether or not he can make the right decisions in the face of a heated rush.

That's why Ramsey wants to rely less on his arm and more on his brain.

''I'm trying to let my arm make up for what I'm lacking mentally and I can't do that,'' Ramsey said. ''I have to fire it in there when necessary and smooth one in when it's not. It's hard, especially at this level when the creases close much more quickly. I look in there and say, 'I can fire that one in there.' Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.''

Receiver Kevin Lockett said he's noticed Ramsey improving at knowing where to throw in practice.

''The question mark on him will be his decision making,'' Lockett said. ''The only way you find out about that is by getting reps in practice and playing in a game. When you talk about the physical tools, he ranks among the best I've seen.''


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