Coach Steve Spurrier said yesterday that rookie quarterback Patrick Ramsey will start at least one more game for the Washington Redskins this season, perhaps on Dec. 22 against the Houston Texans at FedEx Field.
With a 5-7 record and the Redskins' playoff hopes all but evaporated, Spurrier said Ramsey, rookie tailback Ladell Betts and wide receiver Darnerien McCants will be among the youngsters to play more. But Spurrier reiterated that he intends to start Danny Wuerffel at quarterback against the New York Giants on Sunday at FedEx Field, and said it might be unfair to start Ramsey the following game at Philadelphia.
"We'll probably have Patrick second and get him involved, and hopefully somewhere soon get him a full game before the season is out," Spurrier said. "But right now, we feel like Danny deserves to hang in there this week, and we'll see how it goes from there . . . We need to play Patrick somewhere along the line, whether it's some this week or the Houston game or whatever game it is. We'll have to just wait and see. The way the Eagles looked [Sunday], I don't think it would be fair to turn him loose against those guys right now."
Ramsey, the Redskins' first-round draft choice in April, made two starts in October but has played little since. He said yesterday he had not discussed playing time with Spurrier.
"I think Coach probably has more experience with new quarterbacks and how they adjust to his system, so I guess that's his decision," Ramsey said.
Wuerffel's contract expires after this season, and the coming weeks could determine whether the Redskins will re-sign him. "I would hate to say we've ruled him out," Spurrier said. "We certainly haven't ruled him in."
Spurrier said he won't necessarily give Betts, the club's second-round draft selection, any starts at tailback ahead of Stephen Davis, but will get him into games.
"We're going to play all of our players, but we may play some of our younger players a little more," Spurrier said. "It may be good. Who knows? We need to look at Ladell Betts. He hasn't had a chance to do too much this year. . . . Maybe Darnerien McCants needs a few more balls thrown at him."
As Spurrier's first season as an NFL head coach enters its final month, he said he looks around the division and sees coaches with more tenure and hopes for better times next year and beyond.
Spurrier said: "We thought we'd be a little bit better. . . . We've got some improvement to do -- coaching, players, the overall scheme of things. . . . This is our first [season]. Hopefully next year we'll act like we've been here a while. We'll run the same system for a while. We'll act like we know what we're doing a lot better than what we do right now."
The Redskins placed middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter on the injured reserve list. Trotter is scheduled to have surgery in about 10 days to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee he suffered against Dallas.
"It was tough," Trotter said. "When it first happened, I didn't believe I'd torn it. It didn't feel like when I hurt my knee in college. The doctor was pretty sure on the sideline I'd torn it, but I didn't think so. It was really heartbreaking when they told me it was torn because I'd gotten my hopes up."
Trotter was hurt without being hit, and said he partially blames the artificial turf at Texas Stadium.
"It was one of those freak accidents," Trotter said. "When I went out there, I didn't like the turf . . . The league should do something about it. Every team should be required to have the best turf possible."
The Redskins also could spend the rest of the season without defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson, who has a torn calf muscle. He said yesterday he was displeased with the inconsistent play of the Redskins' defense this season.
"I think we've been way too up and down," Wilkinson said. "We've played good ball at times, but at times we've stunk up the house."
The key, Wilkinson said, is for the Redskins to find a way to keep defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis and as many of their top defensive players as they can for next season.
"Nothing is connected from one year to the next," Wilkinson said. "It's been frustrating to the whole team, as well as individuals . . . You look at the teams that have been successful, and they've been able to keep their guys together. The Washington Redskins have to find a creative way to do that." . . . The Redskins released defensive back Kato Serwanga off the injured reserve list.