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DP: Preparing for plan B


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Preparing for plan B


Joe Gibbs did not sound optimistic Monday when asked if quarterback Mark Brunell's strained left hamstring will allow him to start this week against Dallas.

"I talked to Mark this morning and he said, 'I don't know,' so we're going to see," Gibbs said. "He would have to practice this week, have good work and look really good (to start). We'll have a better feel on Thursday on what he might be able to do for us.

"If I had to guess right now, (Patrick Ramsey) is going to be playing a lot against Dallas."

If Brunell could not go, Gibbs confirmed he would go with Ramsey, and not No. 3 quarterback Tim Hasselbeck, in the wake of Ramsey's three-interception performance in Sunday's 20-14 loss to the New York Giants.

Ramsey's preseason struggles carried into the regular season against the Giants. Relieving an injured Brunell early in the second half, Ramsey was 9-of-18 for 142 yards and one touchdown.

"It remains to be seen how well Patrick can play in this offense," Gibbs said. "I think Patrick's got everything. I don't think you can find anybody tougher and with a better arm, and I think he's smart. We just to have to get all of us to play together."

A day after the Redskins fell to 1-1, Gibbs lauded the defense and was critical of the team's offense, which had seven turnovers.

"On offense, we can't play like that," he said. "You can't make the kinds of mistakes we did. We were so inconsistent - we made real good plays and then come right back and throw the ball someplace you just can't throw it."

Defensively, the Redskins lead the NFL in total (223 yards given up per game) and rushing defense (46 ypg). But the offense is 19th in the league (306.5) and tied for 30th in turnover margin (minus-5).

In 30 drives this season, the Redskins have three touchdowns, 11 punts and only five drives more than 50 yards.

"We got to understand that we have to play so much smarter," Gibbs said.

The only thing the Redskins' offense is doing well is scoring first; Washington is the only team in the NFL to score touchdowns on its two opening drives this season.

Despite the turnovers, rookie H-back Chris Cooley said the offense remained confident late in the game against New York.

"Every time we would go onto the field, we would be saying, 'OK, here's the drive, we're going to take the lead on this drive,' " he said. "It's tough to be in a close game like that and not finish it off. We really emphasize starting fast, and we've done that."

For the last two months, Brunell's standard line has been, "There's a lot of football to be played." And the Redskins do have 14 games remaining. But this is the NFL, in which, as Yogi Berra says, "It gets late early."

After the Giants game, Brunell said, "We will get better. (Sunday) was a step back. You're not going to win games with turnovers, and the passing game needs work. There's no doubt we will get better."

The Cowboys (1-1) also have issues. Dallas defeated Cleveland 19-12 despite four turnovers and 11 penalties.

"I can tell you this," Cowboys coach Bill Parcells told reporters Monday, "penalties and turnovers will beat you most of the time in this league. It shouldn't be this way, but I think you're seeing a lot of it. We're not the only one. There are quite a few teams having trouble in that respect."


Gibbs said defensive end Phillip Daniels' groin injury would keep him sidelined "two weeks minimum." Ron Warner is likely to start in Daniels' place.

In other injury news, Gibbs said right tackle Kenyatta Jones (ankle) did not appear on the team's injury list last week because he did practice. "He could have played and he was OK, but he missed some work during the week," Gibbs said. ...

Gibbs on facing the Cowboys: "This will be something, probably. This is Monday night. This is the Dallas Cowboys. You can't say much more than that." «

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decision making can be taught..... I thought he was throwing the ball better than brunell was..... seemed brunell was over-throwing everything. Patrick just needs to go with safer choices, and throw the ball after the receiver breaks....instead of during the break as SS taught him. And he is gonna need pass protection if they want him to look down field.

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I just wonder if this will take the bootlegs out of the offense or if Gibbs has taught Ramsey how to run them. We did the rollouts with Ramsey, and he has really started to do those well, judging from the last preseason game and this past game.

But we still have yet to run a bootleg with him in there. I wonder if he can do it.

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