Quick Links

Ramsey Healthy but Brunell to Start

Ramsey Healthy but Brunell to Start

You can reach me by email at

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.

Quick Links

Need to Know: Redskins player quick hitters—Offensive starters

USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: Redskins player quick hitters—Offensive starters

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 21, 36 days before the NFL draft.  

Redskins starters quick hitters—offense

The last couple of days here I looked at how the depth charts are shaping up with a little bit of commentary (offense, defense). Today and tomorrow I’ll take a closer look at the starters with some quick hitters about each one, starting today with the offense.

QB Alex Smith—The deal is done, and the Redskins have their man for five years at $22.2 million per year or, if they prefer, three years at $23.7 million per. It seems like most fans are behind him but there will have to be a few more wins than losses this fall for that to become permanent.

RB Samaje Perine—He got better as the year went on, averaging nearly a half yard per carry more in the last seven games compared to the first nine. But the 3.4 average per carry certainly did not stop both Doug Williams and Jay Gruden from talking about drafting a running back early.

TE Jordan Reed—According to reports, he is rehabbing well from the hamstring and toe injuries that severely limited him last year. Still, expect him to be kept in bubble wrap until training camp and even then, his action may be limited.

WR Josh Doctson—Did Kirk Cousins look away from Doctson too often, lacking the confidence in him to let him go get the 50-50 balls? Will Smith have more confidence in Doctson? The answers to those questions may determine if the third-year receiver breaks out in 2018 or he continues to tease with flashes of ability.

WR Paul Richardson—He’s capable of the acrobatic catch, which should be fun to watch. Richardson was good with Russell Wilson on the off-schedule plays, maybe he can do the same with Smith.

WR Jamison Crowder—I guess it’s fair to say he had an off year in 2017 but his receiving yardage only dropped by 60 yards from 2016. It will be interesting to see if they keep him in as the punt returner after he averaged 6.3 yards per return (23rd of 25 qualifiers) last year.

LT Trent Williams—The six-time Pro Bowler is still in the relatively early stages of recovering from surgery to the knee that kept him from practicing from about Week 6 on. Don’t look for him until training camp and even then, the early workload is likely to be light.

LG Arie Kouandjio—This is the one offensive position that remains up in the air. Kouandjio has shown some grit as a spot starter but I don’t think the organization views him as a 16-game starter.

C Chase Roullier—Shortly after Roullier got the starting job when Spencer Long went out injured, Jay Gruden said that Roullier would be the Redskins’ center “for a long time”. There is no reason to doubt that at this point in time.

RG Brandon Scherff—His concern no longer is trying to live up to having been the fifth pick of the draft. Scherff has to play well enough to justify his 2019 option-year salary, which will be in the vicinity of $13 million.

RT Morgan Moses—He had surgery to repair his ankles, which were an issue most of last season. Still, he didn’t miss a start. Like Williams, even if he’s ready for training camp, don’t expect to see a whole lot of him.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Tandler on Twitter


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 27
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 129
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 173

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Redskins make contract offer to pass rusher Pernell McPhee, per report


Redskins make contract offer to pass rusher Pernell McPhee, per report

Free agent pass rusher Pernell McPhee visited the Redskins on Monday, and by Tuesday night a report emerged that Washington offered the veteran outside linebacker a contract.

Last week, Trent Murphy signed with the Buffalo Bills and things remain uncertain between the Redskins and Junior Galette. That means the organization has a need for an edge rushing linebacker, and that's exactly the role McPhee can play. 

A 29-year-old that played the last three seasons with the Bears, McPhee posted 14 sacks while in Chicago. Prior to his time with the Bears, McPhee was a solid contributor on some good Ravens teams. 


His best season in Baltimore came in 2014 when he posted 7.5 sacks. That's also the last season McPhee played a full 16 game schedule. He's missed 12 games over the last three years in Chicago. 

McPhee could provide the Redskins with solid veteran depth at outside linebacker, and he's also considered a plus defender against the run. With Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith cemented as the starting outside linebackers, if signed, McPhee would pair up with Ryan Anderson on Washington's second unit. At 6-foot-2 and 275 lbs., McPhee carries more weight on his frame than either Kerrigan or Smith. 

Pro Football Focus gave McPhee a strong grade for the 2017 season. He notched a +11.5 and ranked 13th out of 46 outside linebackers graded. For comparison, Broncos star Von Miller ranked 1st at +57, Kerrigan ranked 8th at +22.9 and Galette ranked 10th at +16.2.

It's unclear what a move for McPhee would mean between the Redskins and Galette, but it's hard to imagine it helps.

Free agent Johnathan Hankins also visited Washington on Monday, and while he plays an interior defensive line position different from McPhee, it's also unclear what this offer would do to any negotiations between the Redskins and Hankins. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!