Head coach Joe Gibbs said Monday that he expects Patrick Ramsey to be his starting quarterback next season.
"We're starting with Patrick," Gibbs said in response to a question about whether Ramsey had played well enough to be awarded the starting job in 2005. "That's who we're going with. We're hoping that he continues to progress."
Gibbs also said he expects to go into 2005 with the same trio of quarterbacks as this year: Ramsey, Brunell and third-string quarterback Tim Hasselbeck.
Asked if the team would pursue a different quarterback in free agency or the draft next offseason, Gibbs replied: "My point on the quarterback situation is that I feel real good about it. All three of them--I like them."
Since taking over for Mark Brunell in mid-season, Ramsey has continually gotten better as he adjusts to Gibbs' offense. In the five games, he has completed 106-of-162 passes for 939 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions.
Ramsey's QB rating in those five games is 83.3, including a career-high 139.2 in the Redskins' 31-7 win over the New York Giants on Dec. 5.
"When somebody goes in, the way I look at it is, he's earned the right [to be the starter]," Gibbs said. "That started from the first day he went in there and started playing well. To me, when we named him the starter, I'm kind of reluctant to pull guys in and out. So I give them a shot and we're going until something would happen that would say to me, We need to make a change.'"
Gibbs said Ramsey is playing a style of ball that befits a team with the second-ranked defense and a strong punting game with Tom Tupa.
In two games earlier this season, Ramsey relieved Brunell and threw five interceptions in those two games. Since being named starter, Ramsey has cut down on the turnovers and played smart football, Gibbs said.
"In his five starts for us, what's been most impressive is that in the two games he was in earlier this year that he came in late, he did throw interceptions," Gibbs said. "And so we had a long talk about it. We talked about what kind of team we are. We talked about our great defense and our great punting game. A very important part of playing like that is the quarterback.
"So I think if you're the quarterback on that team, you have to be smart with the football. Patrick has certainly done that, and that's really to his credit. The other thing is, he has made plays. He's stepped up in there. The first two starts, we didn't make plays on offense. I think our receivers and Patrick have stepped up in the passing game."
Gibbs added that Brunell, a 12-year veteran who started the first nine games of the regular season, has been the "consummate pro" since becoming the team's backup in mid-November.
"He understands things," Gibbs said. "I think as an offensive team, early in the year we weren't playing as well as we are right now as far as blocking and running and doing all the things we have to. So I feel real comfortable with our quarterback situation and I said that at the beginning of the season when Mark was starting.
"I know one thing, if we get in a game down the stretch [where Ramsey is out], we'll have a guy going in there [in Brunell] who's not going to get panicked. Mark has a ton of experience. I think he could bounce in there right now and play extremely well for us."