With the Redskins at 9-6 and battling for the postseason, quarterback Patrick Ramsey is among a handful of players who are getting their first taste of meaningful, late-season NFL games.
"It's been different from any other year that I've been here," Ramsey said on Wednesday. "Guys are playing with a lot of confidence. We've been running the ball effectively and the defense is playing great. It's been a total team effort. That's what has pulled us through."
With Mark Brunell nursing a knee injury, Ramsey took most of the reps at practice on Wednesday. Rookie quarterback Jason Campbell also took a handful of reps.
Ramsey would get the nod if Brunell is unable to play. Out of the limelight most of the 2005 season, Ramsey said on Wednesday that this season has been a learning experience. The fourth-year quarterback was benched in favor of Brunell prior to the Redskins' Week 2 game at Dallas.
Asked what he has learned from watching Brunell this season, Ramsey replied: "I've learned just to be patient. Mark has done a very good job at checking the ball down. I can think of several third-downs where he checked the ball down and guys ran for the first down. That's something that I haven't always done in my career and something that I hope to emulate."
For any quarterback, watching from the sidelines is far different from playing in the game, obviously. The most challenging aspect of being a backup quarterback is being prepared to go into a game at a moment's notice.
Ramsey proved up to that task when Brunell suffered his knee injury during last Saturday's 35-20 win over the New York Giants. Ramsey completed 5-of-7 passes for 104 yards and one touchdown.
"You have to focus in even more when you're not playing," Ramsey said. "If Mark makes a mistake, he can see it and recall seeing it from the quarterback position while I have to watch it on tape or watch it during the game. What I try to do is see what he does before the snap on every play, see what he did and what I expected him to do connects."
Added head coach Joe Gibbs: "My experience has been that quarterbacks who have sat out, were in a backup role and in a learning process, it's really valuable. They don't get to run much of the team's plays, but they seem to pick up things. They watch film, sit in meetings and are studying the other teams.
"One of the best learning tools that you can have is to watch someone else and the corrections that are made and say. 'I would have done that' or 'I wouldn't have done that.' I've been amazed at how well backups can be in that environment--and yet, step in and make plays as soon as they hit the field. Certainly, that's what happened with Patrick."
-- ROGERS IS QUESTIONABLE
Cornerback Carlos Rogers sat out Wednesday's practice as he continues to recover from a biceps injury. Rogers, who has missed the last two games, is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Eagles.
Said Joe Gibbs: "I think he's better. His range of motion is improved. He pushed it hard yesterday, but we'll just have to see."
All other players on the team's injury report--Chris Samuels (ankle), Matt Bowen (knee), Shawn Springs (groin), Renaldo Wynn (foot) and Brunell (knee)--are listed as probable.
Meantime, the Eagles listed defensive end Jevon Kearse and right tackle Jon Runyan as questionable. Both Kearse and Runyan have knee injuries.
-- MORTON PROMOTED TO ROSTER
With Chris Clemons placed on injured reserve, the Redskins have promoted cornerback Christian Morton from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, the team announced on Wednesday.
Morton was signed to the Redskins' practice squad on Dec. 16.
Morton is a second-year player who was with the Atlanta Falcons earlier this season and played in four games, recording five tackles and two passes defended. He was also with the Falcons last season and played in two regular-season games and the NFC Championship game in the postseason.
To fill Morton's spot on the practice squad, the Redskins signed cornerback Dwight Ellick, a 5-10, 185-pound rookie out of Notre Dame. Ellick spent time with the New Orleans Saints earlier this season.