SkinsBlog 9/14/05

My thrice-weekly commentary on the Washington Redskins…

Oh my god, Tony actually wrote a column. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

So let’s examine this quarterback situation for a moment, shall we? Ramsey nearly gets his head chopped off early in the second quarter, but even though he was cleared to reenter the game, Gibbs keeps him on the bench in favor of Brunell. Then came Monday’s oh-so-shocking announcement that Brunell would be starting in Dallas next week.

Raise your hand if any of this really surprises you. Didn’t think so. After all, Gibbs has never liked Ramsey from day one. This was evident when Gibbs paid an ungodly amount of money to hire Brunell during the ’04 offseason. This was as plain as could be as Brunell struggled from game to game all last year, and Gibbs stuck with him anyway. This was obvious to my (at the time) two week old son when, during the April draft, Gibbs traded something like ten future draft picks in order to draft Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell. (And let’s be honest here, had Cal’s Aaron Rodgers still been available for our first draft pick, Gibbs would’ve taken him, but I digress.) How is it not a warning sign when you draft your “quarterback of the future” when your “quarterback of the present” is only in his fourth year?

The answer is, because your “quarterback of the present” isn’t the guy you’ve professed up and down and sideways all spring and all summer is your starter. Ramsey to Gibbs is a non-person, an inconsequential name on a roster that he doesn’t quite know what to do with. He won’t cut him (although I don’t know why not), and he doesn’t seem to want to trade him either. So you’re leaving him in limbo, without any prospect of playing this year, and unable to go out and find a team that will let him play.

But what I really don’t get is Gibbs’ love affair with Mark Brunell. The man was a good enough quarterback in his prime, making it to two AFC championship games and at least one Pro Bowl. But the guy is not a Hall of Fame candidate and he never will be. He stunk up the joint last year, and Gibbs kept him in when every man, woman, child, cat and dog in the greater Capital area cried out for him to be benched.

On Monday, Len Pasquarelli wrote on, “[Gibbs] has never demonstrated any hesitancy about switching starting quarterbacks[.]” That certainly wasn’t true last year when he kept Brunell in for a miserable nine starts, giving us a record to that point of 3-6. Week after week fans endured an anemic offense with Brunell at the helm. It wasn’t like once Ramsey came in we turned into a Super Bowl caliber team, but we did win three of our last seven, certainly not any worse than Brunell’s record.

Yet this year, Ramsey got twenty minutes to prove his worth. Not nine games, like Brunell got; not even nine possessions. And what did he accomplish in those twenty minutes? He threw an interception, lost a fumble and was sacked twice. But he also went 6 for 11, threw for 105 yards and threw a touchdown (which was called back on TE Chris Cooley’s offensive pass interference). Compare this to Brunell’s numbers which were 8 for 14, threw for 70 yards and no touchdowns. He didn’t have any turnovers, but was sacked once. I can’t emphasize one stat enough: Ramsey passed for 105 yards in 20 minutes, and Brunell threw for 70 yards in twice the time.

Yet Brunell gets the starting job next Monday night in Dallas. I’d be pissed if I were in Ramsey’s shoes. There is nothing in the numbers to justify this switch. Coach Gibbs, if you don’t want Ramsey to play, just trade him already. Maybe we can get some of our picks back.

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