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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 Redskins.com:
"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.