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Ramsey to start for Redskins against Philly

November 15, 2004

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) - Patrick Ramsey is the new starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins, a move coach Joe Gibbs hopes will end the team's worst scoring slump in seven decades.

"We're going to make him the starter," Gibbs said Monday. "We have to sink or swim with the way I feel about things. ... We're going to go with Patrick and hopefully he's going to play great for us, and we're all going to support him."

Gibbs benched Mark Brunell in the second quarter of Sunday's 17-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, but the coach waited until Monday to announce that Ramsey will start next week's game at Philadelphia.

"It'll be a tough assignment for him," Gibbs said. "It's probably the biggest underdog we've ever been going to Philly."

Brunell was 1-for-8 for 6 yards when he was benched with the Redskins trailing 17-0. He ranks last in the league in completion percentage (49.8), yards per attempt (5.04) and overall rating (63.9), and the Redskins haven't scored more than 18 points in a game all season.

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Not since the Redskins played their home games in Boston, during the Dark Ages of scoring in the 1930s, has the team gone 10 games without scoring 20 points. The drought began with the season-ending 31-7 loss to Philadelphia last year and has continued through the first nine games of this season, bridging the coaching regimes of two coaches, Steve Spurrier and Gibbs, who built their reputations with big-scoring offenses.

Ramsey had 16 starts over two seasons under Spurrier, but his starting role became in jeopardy when Gibbs traded for Brunell and signed the veteran to a seven-year, $43 million contract with an $8.6 million signing bonus.

Brunell officially won the job in training camp when Ramsey played poorly. Ramsey has since appeared in two games in relief, with mixed results.

"I think the most significant difference for me is that I will able to run our plays against the defense in practice throughout the week," Ramsey said. "And hopefully that will allow me to play better."

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