Patrick Ramsey may envy Kyle Orton's opportunity this Sunday, but deep down inside, he knows better.
Ramsey was eased into the Redskins' starting quarterback role, with a few setbacks along the way. Orton, a rookie fourth-round draft pick by the Chicago Bears, will start his first NFL regular-season game on Sunday at FedExField.
Looking back, Ramsey admitted he probably wasn't ready to start his first NFL game in 2002. (Shane Matthews ended up starting the first game that year, later yielding to Danny Wuerffel and finally Ramsey.)
"I think at that point in time, I probably wasn't happy about not starting," Ramsey said. "But in retrospect, it was better for me to watch and learn for that short time."
With three years of seasoning, Ramsey is ready for a breakout season. He has said on several occasions that he doesn't feel any extra pressure this year.
What he does focus on--and what coaches have drilled into his mind all preseason--is to avoid the costly turnovers. In four preseason games this year, Ramsey threw four interceptions to go along with two touchdown passes.
"I know as an offense we need to cut down on any turnovers, whether it's fumbles or interceptions," he said. "When we are in the red zone and we don't have an opportunity to get in the end zone, just take care of the ball and get three out of it. The fewer turnovers you have, the better your chance of winning."
In looking back at the offseason, head coach Joe Gibbs said he saw improvement in Ramsey.
"Patrick has improved on passing the ball," Gibbs said. "He's improved his touch. He knows he takes a little something off when he has to. I thought he stepped up with that. In our OTAs, I thought he made real progress. Now we are set to go and hopefully he'll take right off."
Even though the Redskins have played against Chicago each of the last two seasons, Sunday's season opener is the first time that Ramsey will play against the Bears in his career.
In 2003, Ramsey was sidelined with a bone bruise in his foot, an injury that eventually required surgery. Last year, Ramsey backed up Mark Brunell.
-- INJURY REPORT
Linebacker Chris Clemons was listed as doubtful on the Redskins' injury report. Clemons suffered a hamstring injury in the Redskins' preseason finale at Baltimore. He has not practiced since.
Safety Ryan Clark also sat out Wednesday's practice and was listed as questionable with a knee injury.
Nonetheless, Clark remained optimistic that he would play this Sunday.
"It feels fine," he said. "I went out and did a little running this morning. My knee feels okay."
Said Gibbs: "I think Ryan is going to be day to day. I can tell you this: With his attitude and the kind of person he is, he probably could play. But he has missed some work, so we'll just take it day by day."
Wide receiver Taylor Jacobs was also listed as questionable as he continues to work through his toe injury.
Right tackle Jon Jansen practiced on Wednesday despite wearing a splint and cast on his left thumb. He fractured the thumb during a practice on Monday.
Jansen is listed as probable and is expected to play against the Bears.
"It won't affect me at all," he said. Then Jansen added with a smile: "If anything, it gives me an extra tool out there."
Said Gibbs: "Jon acted like there was nothing to it. I was really pleased with that. We put a practice cast on it and that is pretty much what he will play with. He still has his fingers free, so I don't think it's going to bother him."
Rounding out the injury report, defensive tackle Brandon Noble was listed as probable as he continues to get into playing shape after off-season arthroscopic knee surgery. Noble played the last two preseason games and was encouraged with his play.
"I definitely plan on being out there," Noble said. "I played several series in the last two preseason games, so I had a good amount of work and I was able to handle it. I was sore the next day, but I can handle it. They're not asking me to do a lot."