Cheap Seats: Time for a change
By: Les Barnhart 
Posted: 2004-10-14
Category: Washington Redskins News
Anyone seen Billy Kilmer? Joe Theismann? How about Doug Williams? Heck, how about someone with a pulse and an arm that is capable of breaking a pane of glass with a thrown football? I believe our current signal caller could break a pane of glass but could he if I draped a Redskin jersey over it? How about on a slant pattern? The odds just decreased, dramatically.

I was in favor of bringing Mark Brunell on board to offer his veteran leadership to the young quarterbacks Patrick Ramsey and Tim Hasselbeck from the time the move was announced. We knew when Coach Gibbs came back that he would be looking for a veteran quarterback to run his offense. Kurt Warner was dumped by the Rams but the Redskins weren't interested based on his recent problems. A few other names were mentioned but it seemed from the beginning that Gibbs and Co. were enamored by then-Jaguar Mark Brunell. Brunell had lost his starting job to the strong armed rookie Byron Leftwich and was relegated to visor and clipboard duty. But Gibbs saw something that others didn't and a huge chunk of money and draft picks later, Brunell, our new starting quarterback, was driving Gibbs to the hospital after a diabetic episode. I thought that he would come in and help Ramsey become the quarterback that so many of us saw last season. Sure, I thought he would get his share of starts but if one didn't have the hot hand, the other would be available. It would seem thus far this season, I as well as others, misunderstood.

It might be unfair to blame Brunell for the offense's struggles this season but as the quarterback, it comes with the territory. Another key job requirement for a starting quarterback at any level is the ability to complete a forward pass with some regularity. At the bare minimum, hit your open receivers. Even if you aren't able to stand in the pocket like the gunslingers such as Manning, Roethlisberger or Favre, you should still be able to throw the ball the ten yards that is necessary for the first down. An essential part of every successful offense (other than the Marino days in Miami) is the mix between run and pass. In the passing game, you need a deep threat to which you will on occasionally throw a "deep out" to, if for no other reason, just to keep the defense honest. When the running game isn't working, the passing game should still be capable of moving the ball, especially when your receivers are getting open. Does any of this make sense to anyone but me?

The Redskins have a quarterback controversy whether they are willing to admit it or not. No, it is not a controversy over who should start but rather if they even have a quarterback on their roster that can lead the offense. Part of the reason that a veteran QB was brought in was that it would be easier for them to pick up Gibbs offensive scheme. Yes, that same scheme that the Browns defense reportedly solved and could read 80-90% of the plays before the snap of the ball. Four games and a preseason is enough time to pick up a system, maybe not the entire system but enough that the offense wouldn't be described as "inept". Furthermore, how many games did Brunell play in Gibbs system before he donned the burgundy and gold? The same number as both Ramsey and Hasselbeck, that number being zero. So, is that an indictment against both of them, one of which was the incumbent starter who was considered to be one of the best young quarterbacks in the league and showed the poise, leadership and toughness you look for in a quarterback, or is it simply Gibbs wanting to put his signature on the offense? Ramsey may not have played well in the limited action that he has seen this season, but at least with him playing, you feel like at least have a puncher's chance in any game. Ramsey's struggles could be from the beat-downs he took last year as a result of the "voyeur blocking" that the offensive line offered or it could be he is still grasping the offense. It is hard to work through your problems if you aren't afforded the opportunity. It is equally hard to believe that someone as intelligent as Ramsey as shown himself to be can't grasp this basic offense.

I understand that a change at quarterback may be the equivalent to changing motors on a car with four blown tires, but it is a change that has to be made and with a coach who knows the importance of not having a good motor, it as a change that has to be made before we are lapped by the field. The defense can't be expected to carry this team with as many weapons we have on the offensive side of the ball. Gibbs needs to coach up Ramsey and turn him loose. What is the worst that can happen? We are already losing to teams we should be beating and our offensive output is just that, offensive. If the kid can't do the job, pull him and put in Hasselbeck or Brunell, if that doesn't work, do what we always seem to do and throw money at it and get someone in who can do it. If we are going to go down, at least go down in a blaze of glory...

--Wingman
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