Archive of our daily coverage of the Washington Redskins' 2003-2007 Training Camps.
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Ramsey is the incumbent QB, but Brunell comes to camp armed with a rich contract
Joe Gibbs is no stranger to the training-camp scene.
Today, Gibbs will be conducting his 13th training camp as coach of the Washington Redskins.
But it will be Gibbs' first since 1992, and the NFL world is watching to see how it goes.
Gibbs retired after the 1992 season, a 10-8 year that saw the Redskins lose in the second round of the playoffs. In the interim, he built one of NASCAR's most successful teams, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and watched very little football after his brief tenure as an analyst for NBC ended.
But when he got the itch to return to the NFL, the Redskins permitted him to scratch it.
Gibbs is on familiar territory. He has spent the past seven months retooling the Redskins. He and team owner Dan Snyder acquired the running back, Clinton Portis, Gibbs feels he needs in order to have a successful offense.
He hired a defensive staff and turned the operation of that unit over to assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Gibbs will have little input into the defensive schemes, other than holding Williams and his staff accountable for the results.
And Gibbs did something that is almost a tradition in Washington. He created a quarterback controversy.
After studying films from last season, Gibbs concluded that someone other than Patrick Ramsey was needed as the starting quarterback. Gibbs will not say that. All he will say is that the Redskins needed more depth at the position.
So Gibbs helped to engineer a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars that brought Mark Brunell, 33 and beginning his 12th NFL season, to the Redskins. And while Gibbs has declared this an open competition, Brunell received a seven-year contract worth $43 million, including an $8.6 million signing bonus.
Such a contract almost always means the player who owns it will start.
So far, Brunell and Ramsey have alternated, neither working exclusively with the first or second team.
"You don't look in the huddle to see who's in there," Brunell said. "You just go out and play. Our job is to go against the defense.
"Patrick is not worried about Mark Brunell and vice versa. All you can control is how you play when you get your chance. I think that's a good way of approaching things."
Ramsey initially was disappointed and perhaps even angry that Brunell was acquired. Ramsey says his feelings were assuaged after talking with Gibbs and getting the assurance that the job will go to the best man.
"This is when it happens," Ramsey said. "There has been no competition up to this point, except learning the offense and trying to run it as efficiently as possible. I think today is when it all starts."
Many things will start today. The Redskins will begin to get an idea of what their defense will do this season. Williams is the team's sixth defensive coordinator in the past six seasons. Gibbs is the Redskins' fifth coach in that span. Everyone in the organization is anxious to see what this group of coaches will accomplish.
The offseason has gone well, but things change when players begin hitting one another.
"There will be some click-clacking," said cornerback Fred Smoot. "The real men come out when the pads come on."
That might be true. But some of those men have mixed emotions about the start of training camp.
"It's never nice to put on pads as a player," said wide receiver Laveranues Coles. "I haven't been doing it a long time, but after my first year, I never got excited about coming to camp."
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