If there's a throw that Patrick Ramsey wants a do-over on from Friday night's game in St. Louis, it is the pass to James Thrash in the end zone on the Redskins' game-opening drive. Thrash was wide open racing across the end zone, but Ramsey's pass was just out of his reach.
"We got the look we wanted and I checked off," Ramsey said. "I have to make a better throw in that situation. That's essentially what it comes down to. He was open."
The Redskins settled for a 28-yard field goal by John Hall. But seven points in that situation could have helped Ramsey and the offense get momentum against a St. Louis defense predicated on speed. The Rams would go on to shut down the Redskins the rest of the way and win the preseason game in convincing fashion, 28-3.
After that first drive, Ramsey and the offense was unable to get untracked. Starters Clinton Portis, Laveranues Coles and Rod Gardner had been removed from lineup, but that was no consolation for Ramsey as he bids for the Redskins' starting job with Mark Brunell.
"Offensively we didn't move the ball like we did last week [against the Miami Dolphins], so it was certainly a step back," Ramsey said. "We have to establish ourselves better. I think this will be a tape we can all certainly learn from."
Ramsey finished the game completing 5-of-10 passes for 81 yards and a QB rating of 77.5. His best pass came in the second quarter on a 44-yard completion to wide receiver Taylor Jacobs, who caught the downfield pass in stride. But Rams cornerback Kevin Garrett poked the ball out of Jacobs' arms, inducing a fumble.
Brunell played most of the third quarter and was 5-of-8 for 28 yards.
Head coach Joe Gibbs said after Friday's game that the decision on who would be named the opening day starting quarterback would be based on several factors.
"It's been a process and every practice and game we've studied and taken note of," Gibbs said. "There'll come a point here where we need to make a decision."
Asked who would start the preseason finale against Atlanta next Friday, Gibbs said: "Right now we're scheduled to start Mark [Brunell]."
The Falcons should bring back positive memories for Ramsey. He had a career day in a Week 2 game last year against the Falcons, completing 25-of-39 passes for 356 yards and two touchdowns in leading the Redskins to a 33-31 win in Atlanta. But Ramsey's 2003 season ended prematurely when he was diagnosed with a bone bruise in his right foot. He had surgery to repair the injury last December.
Gibbs brought in 11-year vet Brunell to create competition at quarterback. Both Brunell and Ramsey spent considerable time learning Gibbs' offense during the offseason, but this preseason is their first opportunity to play in it against another team.
That's why Gibbs has periodically evaluated the quarterback play as "rough."
Ramsey said Friday night that making the transition to Gibbs' offense from Steve Spurrier's offense last year has been "difficult." Each system is dependent on different quarterback skills.
"The longer I'm in [Gibbs's] offense, the better I understand it," he added.
So far this preseason, Ramsey is 15-of-37 for 196 yards and one interception. Brunell is 22-of-40 for 244 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Ramsey recognizes that he needs to make the most of his opportunities this preseason to win the starting QB job.
"I think I could have played better, but as far as effort and preparation, I certainly did all I could [to win the starting job]," Ramsey said. "I don't think this game was my last chance [to impress coaches]. I think my performance in training camp was as important as anything, but certainly the games have been important."