Spurrier announced that either Wuerffel or Patrick Ramsey would start this Sunday against the Rams at FedEx Field.. ``We'll get both guys ready to play, and we'll make some announcement later in the week who's going to start,'' Spurrier said.
Whichever one loses the starting competition might well be in there in the end as Spurrier suggested that the two QB’s might split time. ``We'll try to go at least a half and a half, or something of that nature,'' he said.
Actually, if you count preseason, it’s his sixth dispatch of a signal caller as he switched from Danny Wuerffel to Shane Matthews as his starter just after the preseason finale.
The preseason meaningless, you say? Don’t tell Spurrier that.
``Sometimes I look back, when we were playing our best, we told each of them they had a half during preseason,'' Spurrier said. ``Can you do that in the regular season? You take first half - you take the second?''
His references to August didn’t stop there. He said that he might show the team some films from the preseason and dissect the stats from the good old days.
``We were on top of most of them in yards and first downs all that kind of stuff back then,'' Spurrier said. ``I know it was our preseason team against their preseason team - I know it's not the same - but maybe we need to look back and try to gain some confidence through those tapes.''
At Florida, Spurrier had a reputation for yanking quarterbacks frequently, but it’s unlikely that he planned to make so many switches at the position this year. Mediocre performance, however, has forced the changes. Matthews didn’t get demoted from first to third string for the second time this season on a whim or due to one bad play. He earned his spot on the bench by completing just 52% of his passes, the second-worst mark in the league. Against the Giants, Matthews averaged just 2.9 yards per pass attempt. His season average is better, 5.3 yards per pass, but far, far from respectability. In fact, that’s a yard or so shy of mediocrity.
In short, Shane Matthews just wasn’t getting it done.
So, Spurrier looks down his bench and sees Wuerffel and Ramsey. Ramsey had a bang-up premiere as the rookie looked like a veteran in calmly picking apart the Tennessee Titans in the Redskins’ fourth game. Losses to the Saints and Packers brought the first-round pick crashing back to reality. He is the quarterback of the future—or, at the very least, he’ll be given an opportunity to become that someday. Is that day this Sunday?
Probably not. Spurrier doesn’t think that Wuerffel has been given enough of a chance to show that he can play. There are those who will point out his inability to establish himself as even a solid #2 quarterback in his five previous seasons in the league, but the Ballcoach will say that Wuerffel hasn’t been playing in the right system. Others will argue that Wuerffel was awful in two relief appearances this year against the Eagles and 49ers. Spurrier counters that these were two mop-up appearances against two of the leagues premiere teams and didn’t allow Danny to show his stuff.
So, look for Wuerffel to start on Sunday and for Ramsey to come in at some point. When and for how long, only Steve Spurrier knows.
Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. For a look at this unique book, which chronicles all 925 games the Washington Redskins have ever played, go to www.RedskinsAtoZ.com