Patrick Ramsey says he is not feeling any additional pressure on being anointed the Redskins' starting quarterback this preseason. The fourth-year player has produced positive plays in two preseason games, but he has also thrown three interceptions.
"This is probably my best opportunity," Ramsey said. "If anything, you should feel less pressure because this is a good team we have put together and I like what we're doing. We're moving the ball pretty well. We're continuing to get accustomed to one another, but there are a lot of things I need to work on."
This is the second time in three years that Ramsey enters the regular season as the projected starter.
Ramsey entered the 2003 season as the starting quarterback under then-head coach Steve Spurrier. He was backed up by Rob Johnson and Gibran Hamdan that year.
In 2004, under head coach Joe Gibbs, Ramsey lost a training camp competition with Mark Brunell.
This year, the situation is reversed, with Brunell backing up Ramsey. Newcomer Jason Campbell, the Redskins' second of two first-round draft picks last April, is expected to serve as the third quarterback.
In two games this preseason, Ramsey is 17-of-30 for 267 yards and one touchdown, to go along with the three interceptions. He completed passes of 46, 33 and 30 yards, all to David Patten, and generally moved the ball well against a solid Cincinnati defense.
H-back Chris Cooley sees a calm and confident Ramsey in the huddle.
"He handles [criticism] well and he knows what it's about," Cooley said. "I think he's comfortable with the offense and he's comfortable with the position he's in. He'll keep improving."
Said Gibbs: "We need Patrick to continue to make the good plays that he has made and eliminate the bad ones. We need to be efficient."
Dixon, Tuipala Released
The Redskins slimmed down their roster on Tuesday, releasing safety Tony Dixon and linebacker Joe Tuipala.
Dixon, a former Dallas Cowboy who signed with the team in mid-June, was battling through a hamstring injury all training camp and had seen limited practice time. He played in last Friday's game against Cincinnati in a reserve role.
Tuipala had a solid season for the Cologne Centurions in NFL Europe, but he was caught up in a numbers game in Washington. The Redskins have 11 linebackers on the roster, including draftees Robert McCune and Jared Newberry, so Tuipala was facing an uphill battle to make the roster.
Said Gibbs: "If we think there is somebody who we think doesn't have a chance, then we are making moves to make sure we are not wasting someone's time. They may have a chance to go catch on somewhere else."
Tight end Robert Royal suffered a shoulder injury during Monday's practice and was held out of Tuesday's practice.
"He strained the back of his shoulder," Gibbs said. "We will see if it subsides. The [doctors] didn't think it was anything that needed an MRI."
Royal watched practice from the sidelines alongside safety Ryan Clark (knee) and cornerback Walt Harris (calf). Punter Tom Tupa (back) was not at practice for the second consecutive day.
Safety Matt Bowen, who last week injured his knee during a practice, returned to practice on Tuesday.