Philadelphia Eagles Coach Andy Reid said his team is not taking Redskins quarterback Patrick Ramsey lightly even though he will be starting his first game in nearly a year when he leads Washington into Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. Ramsey was the backup to Mark Brunell through the first nine games but has performed admirably against the Eagles in the past.
"We have a lot of respect for Ramsey because of the things he did against us last year," Reid said during a conference call with reporters. "We know what he's all about. . . . The players here are probably more familiar with Ramsey than Mark."
Ramsey had one of his most efficient games ever in his rookie season against Philadelphia, completing a career-best 65.7 percent of his passes (23 of 35) for 213 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 31-24 defeat on Dec. 15, 2002. Last October Ramsey faced the Eagles on the road and completed 25 of 50 passes for 271 yards. He threw two interceptions, but nearly rallied the team from a nine-point deficit and threw a late touchdown pass in a 27-25 loss.
Coach Joe Gibbs has called Ramsey's chore this weekend "about as tough of an assignment as you can have," given Philadelphia's 8-1 record and aggressive defense. But with Washington's offense in such dire straits, there is a sense of optimism that Ramsey might be able to spark a revival, or at least an improvement.
"I'm exited to see Patrick play," cornerback Fred Smoot said. "Anything to help this team is what we're trying to do right now, and maybe something a little bit different will help the team. I'm not saying Mark couldn't [do it], but maybe something a little different will help."
"With the QB situation, you hope for the best," injured linebacker LaVar Arrington said. "You hope that somehow it comes around and it starts to click in. It's been known to happen. I don't count that out; there's a chance it could catch on, the offense could catch on."
No Punishment for Taylor
The NFL has decided to take no disciplinary action against Redskins rookie safety Sean Taylor, who was the subject of allegations that he spit on a player during Sunday's loss to Cincinnati. Bengals receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh got into an altercation with Taylor, called him a "punk" after the game and said the remark was made for a non-football incident between the players. The league investigated the claims but officials at the NFL could not find evidence of any spitting in reviewing films of the game, sources said. Taylor has refused to comment on the matter and has not spoken with the media since being arrested on drunken driving charges on Oct. 28.
Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense, said Taylor played his best game to this point on Sunday. "He was physical like we would want a big-bodied safety to be," he said.
It's All T.O., All the Time
The Eagles players are trying to stay out of the controversy surrounding wide receiver Terrell Owens's pregame skit with actress Nicollette Sheridan on ABC's "Monday Night Football." Quarterback Donovan McNabb maintained he did not see the introduction to the game. "I just couldn't get my Tivo going at that time," he said.
Owens has been everything the Eagles hoped for when acquiring him and leads the NFL with 12 touchdown catches. He could present difficult matchup problems for Washington's corners, with Shawn Springs likely to spend most of his day on the 6-foot-3, 226-pound receiver. Springs played against him twice during their time in the NFC West and did not allow a 100-yard receiving game. "He knows how to match up on T.O.," linebacker Antonio Pierce said.
Owens is known for his flamboyant touchdown celebrations, something the Redskins want to avoid Sunday. "I don't plan to see none of that," Smoot said. . . .
Joe Bugel, assistant head coach-offense, defended left-handed quarterback Mark Brunell's mobility yesterday and said he believes the 34-year-old can still be effective. "Just the way he pushes back from the center, you've got to think his legs are still lively," Bugel said. "We're not ready to throw dirt on lefty." . . .
The Redskins did not change their injury list yesterday. Arrington (knee), defensive end Phillip Daniels (groin) and kicker John Hall (groin) are out. Linebacker Mike Barrow (knee) is questionable, and Smoot (shoulder) and defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (hip) are probable.