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ESPN: Ramsey is best young QB not named Vick


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Don't know if this was posted yet -- sorry if I missed it.

Ramsey Overcomes Pounding

By Seth Wickersham

ESPN The Magazine

LANDOVER, Md.-- Sunlight hit Patrick Ramsey's face, as did the screams of the 200 or so fans that were waiting outside Fed Ex Field. The Redskins quarterback had just left the tunnel coming out of the stadium, moving pretty well for a guy who has been on the wrong end of 20 sacks in four games. Moments before, sitting in front of his locker, he delicately took off his pads, sat and exhaled. He was as spent as a dollar at Scores.

But now, with Redskins No. 11 jerseys waiting to be signed and a 20-17 win over New England under his belt, pain was in his rearview.

"I feel fine," he said.

He should. In leading Washington to a 3-1 record, he's established himself as the best young quarterback in the game not named Michael Vick. To watch Ramsey play redefines your idea of a quarterback's nerves. It's hard to say who's the toughest player in the NFL, but Ramsey is within arm's length.

"He hung in there and got hit," Washington coach Steve Spurrier said. "He held onto the ball. He's not fumbling when he gets hit."

You get the feeling that if a pass that comes six inches before having your face planted in the turf could be mastered, Ramsey would have it nailed. He stays in the pocket maddeningly long, waiting, waiting, for an open receiver, almost daring the defense to pummel him. How long he can go on is anyone's guess. The way defensive coordinators call blitzes against Washington, the answer is maybe a half. But ask Ramsey, and the answer is forever.

"One thing I never want anyone to say is that I look like I'm scared," he says. "There are guys running downfield, and there are guys blocking to help me get the ball downfield. I don't want to let them down."

Sunday was an off day on the stat sheet. He came into the game with a league-best 889 yards, dressed up nicely with five touchdown passes to only two interceptions. Against the Patriots, he missed on 12 of his 22 passes. He also captained what must now be included in the Worst Game-Clinching Drives video. After New England closed the score to three points late in the fourth quarter, Washington had an offensive series that featured three false starts and two incomplete passes.

But Ramsey, 24, held it together Sunday, even when New England sent everybody. He was planted at least a half-dozen times, but his receivers never had to adjust to the ball. It was always right there. On Washington's opening drive, Ramsey read the blitz on a third-and-7 and hit Chad Morton on a crossing route for 30 yards. A drive later, he hit Morton again on a perfect screen pass for 25 yards.

"When I see Patrick," guard Randy Thomas said after the game, "I see a great young quarterback."

Hard to tell when Ramsey learned to spit in the face of a pass rush, but it no doubt started at Tulane, where he somehow set 20 school records despite being protected by a bunch of Pre-Med and Pre-Law majors. Frank Scelfo, Tulane's offensive coordinator, told The Washington Post last week that only once did Ramsey came out of a game due to injury.

Last season, Ramsey was a rookie, learning a complex offense without a full training camp as a launching pad. He was in and out, playing in 10 games and starting five. In the offseason, he learned how to train his eyes to see what Spurrier, offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, and quarterbacks coach Noah Brindise saw. He spent hour after hour at the complex, and when he wasn't there, Spurrier would call him and say, "You know, if you learn these plays, you have a chance to go to the Pro Bowl."

Ramsey took it personally. And it's paid off.

"They felt like my play was going to be key in how our offense rolled," Ramsey says. "Fortunately, they prepared me well."

For as much as he stays in the pocket, Ramsey has learned how to run when he needs to. Last year he was swift enough to account for minus-1 yard on 13 carries. But now, mind-warpingly, he's a threat on the ground. With the game on the line against the Jets in Week 1, he had a 24-yard scramble to put Washington in field goal range-one of two fourth-quarter game-winning drives he's produced this year.

"That's what makes Patrick the player he is because he'll do anything to win," says guard Dave Fiore. "That's why he's our leader."

If you want Patrick to tell you how tough he is, good luck. But after the game, he came close. As Ramsey walked to his post-game press conference, one of his friends commented on the beating Ramsey took.

"This game?" Ramsey said, grinning. "Man, this game was a three-inch birdie putt for me."

"And how many of those do have?"

"Very few," Ramsey said. "Very few."

Sunday was one of 'em.

Seth Wickersham covers the NFL for ESPN The Magazine.

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lol... I just finished reading it at ESPN.com and was going to post it too...

Say what you want about Vick, I'd take Ramsey over him. Call me a fool, but I'd rather have a pocketpasser than a small injury prone running qb.

The Falcons rely on Vick to do everything, Ramsey involves his teamates and spreads the ball around.

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They definitely picked the wrong game to hype him as a strong armed QB gaining experience, though - I can tell the reporter wanted to write that storyline, but the lack of another 300 yard game made that impossible.

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I agree...

I was really worried about this game. The pats coach has always found a way to stop great passing qb's. Marino always struggled against him, now Manning and Bledsoe do for the most part. I was concerned that Ramsey would bomb, not because he's not good enough, but just because of the pats head coach and his penchant for stopping passers.

Spurrier impressed me a ton by his game plan. He played to the weakness in the pats defense rather than trying to force the pass. I loved it.

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I suspect we ran so much in the second half because that's what Belichek was giving us. They started hanging back a lot to give Ramsey some traffic to throw into and maybe throw a pick or two. To Spurrier's credit, he didn't bite and simply ran it down their throats, just like we all wanted him to do earlier this week.

When your QB throws no picks and the other QB throws three. You've gotten a better performance from your guy.

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Originally posted by codeorama

lol... I just finished reading it at ESPN.com and was going to post it too...

Say what you want about Vick, I'd take Ramsey over him. Call me a fool, but I'd rather have a pocketpasser than a small injury prone running qb.

The Falcons rely on Vick to do everything, Ramsey involves his teamates and spreads the ball around.

Maybe it's me but that last line fits your sig pic perfectly. :D

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