Ramsey shows more than flash

The flashy plays stood out and resulted in touchdowns, points the Redskins craved and needed. Those plays were nice and productive. But those aren't the plays that impressed us the most about Patrick Ramsey's first regular-season action for Washington.

The results were good: he completed 20 of 34 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Redskins to a 31-14 victory over Tennessee. And we're not even going to suggest that his day was tainted because the Titans' pass defense is suspect. For a kid playing his first NFL game, he played outstanding.

Besides, it's the way he did it that was the best part. Ramsey stood in against the face of serious heat, time and again getting hit as he threw the ball. When Gus Frerotte posted big numbers in his first start as a rookie, he did so in a much different manner. Frerotte had lots of time to throw in that 1994 game. Ramsey didn't. Which makes what he did all the more remarkable.

It's not as if he never had time. But he did have to take a pounding to make the plays he did. Redskins coach Steve Spurrier talks about courage more than any other attribute when it comes to quarterbacks. Ramsey showed it. Someone jokingly said he must feel like he did at Tulane, when he constantly faced a heavy rush.

That experience surely helped him Sunday. And it's probably why he thought he didn't get much pressure at all. Compared to what he had faced in college, this day was tame.

The pressure never rattled him, either. Here are throws that we liked the most. One resulted in an incompletion because receiver Kevin Lockett dropped the ball. But that was irrelevant to what we saw in Ramsey. On the play, a second-and-10 from his 34, Ramsey was pressured and pinched to the middle.

He could have run the ball, but he didn't. Instead, Ramsey patiently glided up the pocket, keeping his eyes downfield and zipped a pass to Lockett.

On the 90-yard scoring drive, Ramsey had a similar play on a third and 10 from his 44. Again the pressure forced him up in the pocket. Again he kept his eyes glued downfield, like a good point guard running a fast break. Ramsey had room to run and might have made a first down. But his job is to find guys who are open.

So he flung a 15-yard pass to receiver Chris Doering for a first down. It's a subtle play. It's a telling play. It's one the coach's preac to their players, but not many do it in the game. Or can do it.

Another time he hung in there against a fierce blitz before delivering a pass to fullback Bryan Johnson over the middle at the last second. A beautiful play.

Ramsey will endure his struggles this season, no doubt about it. And he might not be quite ready to grasp all of Spurrier's system. But his poise and maturity make you wonder just what'll happen when he does.


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