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Redskins Will Give Ramsey a Rest

Hasselbeck Set For First Start

By Nunyo Demasio

Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, November 29, 2003; Page D01

Before the final practice of the week, Patrick Ramsey was still clinging to the possibility that the bone bruise in his right foot would heal overnight. But those fading hopes finally ended yesterday, when the Washington Redskins officially declared the second-year quarterback unavailable for Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints at FedEx Field.


Washington's Patrick Ramsey, helped off the field against Miami, will have his streak of 14 straight starts end.

"Everybody expected that," Coach Steve Spurrier said yesterday.

Ramsey ends a streak of 14 consecutive starts dating to last year. Tim Hasselbeck -- who had never thrown an NFL pass when he joined the Redskins on Oct. 22 -- will make his first start.

"It's discouraging but I think I've kind of reached a point with this injury that I've been hindering it instead of helping it," said Ramsey, who has 14 touchdowns versus nine interceptions with a 75.8 rating. "Tim's played well, and hopefully he can lead us to a victory this Sunday."

Ramsey is wearing a soft cast to mend the aggravation of an old fracture. Although offseason surgery is inevitable, the Redskins want Ramsey to play as much as possible this season to further his development. Ramsey -- who last practiced on Nov. 21 -- hopes to play when the Redskins visit the New York Giants next week.

Spurrier said, "Rest for a week or two is what [doctors] are prescribing."

The Redskins also activated rookie Gibran Hamdan, who was selected in the seventh round out of Indiana University, to back up Hasselbeck. (To make room for Hamdan, the Redskins released running back John Simon.)

"It's unfortunate that this has to come because Patrick can't play," said Hamdan, who played at Bishop O'Connell High in Arlington. "It's an opportunity for me to put on the jersey."

I20433-2003Nov29Redskins quarterback Tim Hasselbeck will make his first NFL start on Sunday against the Saints at FedEx Field.

Despite the changes, this week has been no different for Hasselbeck, who has taken the bulk of practice snaps in the past two weeks. Hasselbeck didn't learn that he was officially the number one quarterback until being informed by reporters.

"I prepare the same way," said Hasselbeck, who added, "I'll feel more comfortable going into this game than last game."

Ramsey was forced out during last Sunday's 24-23 loss to the Miami Dolphins after suffering a mild concussion on his 30th sack of the season. Hasselbeck filled in, leading the Redskins on three consecutive scoring drives. He flourished in the first half: 10 of 14 for 106 yards as the Redskins led 20-10. But the Dolphins came back in the second half, holding Hasselbeck to 5 of 16 passing for only 44 yards.

Redskins Notes: Left tackle Brandon Winey will make his first NFL start in place of Chris Samuels, who will miss only the second game of his professional career because of a sprained right knee. Winey will be across from Saints right end Darren Howard, who leads the team in sacks since 2000. Winey -- a sixth-round pick in the 2001 draft -- played well last week when he took over for Samuels, showing confidence while keeping dangerous defensive end Jason Taylor at bay.

"In this league you're one play away of playing so you have to be ready at all times," Winey said yesterday. "If you play with good technique, you can block anybody. The big and the strong don't win every play."

Winey will play next to rookie left guard Derrick Dockery and their combined inexperience will make the left side of Washington's line a target for the Saints.

"If I was a coach I would do some more things over there as far as blitzes and stuff," Dockery said. "It's going to be a big challenge. They have a big 'D' line, good players. But we have to be prepared and held accountable out there."

The Redskins will shift a tight end on that side as much as possible, and Spurrier intends to keep his trademark seven-step drops to a minimum. "We'll help him out a little bit," Spurrier said of Winey. . . .

Washington's run-stoppers face one of their biggest challenges this season against tailback Deuce McAllister, who has eight straight 100-yard performances. Washington's run defense is among the worst in the league, allowing 128.4 yards per game, although the unit has been solid in recent games. "You have to be physical up top," said defensive end Renaldo Wynn. "He's a downhill runner. He has great vision and breaks tackles. You can't arm-tackle him." . . .

Redskins tailback Ladell Betts returns after missing four games with a broken left forearm, although Trung Canidate remains the starter. Betts practiced this week after being cleared by doctors on Monday. However, the second-year player admits the break has not fully healed and hasn't been truly tested in practice. "You can still see the crack," Betts said smiling, "but it's all right." . . .

Wideout Darnerien McCants, who hasn't practiced this week, may not play. . . . Offensive tackle Kenyatta Jones won't play until next week because of conditioning. . . .

Sunday, the Redskins will wear their retro uniforms, which appeared in home games last season in honor of the franchise's 70th anniversary. The outfits feature a spear and feather on the helmets (from the 1965-69 uniforms) plus gold pants and a burgundy jersey. "I just like the black shoes," said cornerback Fred Smoot.

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