Looking for A Bright Spot
By: Mark Solway 
Posted: 2003-11-25
Category: Washington Redskins News
Well at 4-7, it would appear that the dreams and wishes of the Redskins' faithful are on hold for yet another season. This is not a new feeling to contemporary Washington fans, as 'Wait til next year' has become the moniker of the Redskins' millennium. Gone are the days of pride and tradition, replaced by 'what-ifs' and despair. An entire generation of Redskins' fans is growing up not really comprehending the proud tradition that this storied franchise once represented.

But surely the Redskins fifth consecutive road loss on Sunday can't be all bad... there must have been some bright spots?

Tim Hasselbeck did everything you could ask of a backup quarterback against the Miami Dolphins -- except win.

When Patrick Ramsey was buried in the first quarter and knocked from the game, it seemed the game's result was but a foregone conclusion. In came Hasselbeck with absolutely no NFL experience at all. What hope could there be with a guy whose main claim to fame so far had been being married to a 'Survivor' cast member?

Brother of Seahawks' starting QB Matt, Tim Hasselbeck signed with the Redskins just 4 weeks ago when Rob Johnson was auspiciously handed his walking papers following the Buffalo loss. With only 3 NFL completions to his credit (all against the Cowboys 3 weeks ago), and just a month to learn the Fun 'N Gun, Ramsey's exit certainly meant Washington's imminent demise.

Or did it?

Hasselbeck came in and started moving the ball right away. Steve Spurrier did a good job of calling plays that allowed Tim to settle into a rhythm quickly. Before the Dolphins had had a chance to react and change their approach for Hasselbeck, the Redskins had moved down the field twice for touchdowns and had taken a 20-10 lead. Even the coaching staff was impressed with the level of competence that the young Boston College product displayed. He showed a good working knowledge of the Fun 'N Gun system, and looked more comfortable than Rob Johnson ever did in a Redskins uniform.

With Ramsey's foot questionable for the game anyway, Hasselbeck spent most of last week thinking there was a good chance he would play and taking the bulk of the snaps. He took full advantage of his opportunity. He moved the Redskins effectively in the first half, but in the 2nd half when Spurrier tried to stretch the field a little, the youngster was not as successful. Hasselbeck was also unable to audible out of any bad plays to a more suitable call, but draw your own conclusions as to whether that's a good or a bad thing. Hasselbeck showed poise beyond his experience. Though his final numbers were not spectacular (15-30, 150 yds, 2 TD), they are not a true reflection of the solid, gritty performance that he put in. Spurrier himself said Hasselbeck showed lots of 'moxy out there.'

Ultimately, while he was not able to lead the Redskins to victory, Hasselbeck showed the organization that they could count on his ability to backup Ramsey now or in the future. While it is unlikely that he will seriously challenge Ramsey's starting QB position, it's good to know that there is a 'back-up' plan in place.

In a season full of disappointments, that has to be viewed as a bright spot.
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