The last time quarterback Mark Brunell played at FedEx Field, the crowd expressed its anger over his performance. The veteran is ranked at the bottom of the NFL in most significant statistical categories and the fans will not be in a forgiving mood after Brunell's last outing (6 for 17 for 58 yards). Coach Joe Gibbs continues to be Brunell's biggest supporter, but a slow start today and the chants for backup Patrick Ramsey will ring out again.
At some point the Redskins are going to need a strong game from their quarterback to win, and no doubt the Bengals and Coach Marvin Lewis, Washington's former defensive coordinator, will focus on stopping running back Clinton Portis, daring Brunell to beat them. The Redskins have no deep passing game, are a failure as a third-down passing team and have yet to get wide receivers Laveranues Coles and Rod Gardner fully integrated into the game plan.
Anything close to Brunell's standard game -- he has been held below 100 passing yards four times already this season -- and this game could turn ugly. Brunell has ample experience in the league and says he has been through this kind of thing before, but also acknowledges that he hears the catcalls. It may be impossible to block them out today, and how well Brunell and Gibbs respond to them could be a major factor.