Patrick Ramsey learned of the decision on Saturday after practice. Joe Gibbs pulled him aside and told him the team would start Mark Brunell in the regular season.
After the initial disappointment wore off, Ramsey immediately shifted his focus to his new role as backup.
"It would be a bigger adjustment [becoming a backup] if I had been in this offense for a couple of years," he said. "At this point, I continue to learn, continue to watch and move on to try to become a better quarterback.
"Hopefully it will not happen, but if Mark gets hurt, I'll be ready to go in there and hopefully play well. I will prepare myself for that and do whatever I can do to help us win."
Ramsey, the Redskins' first-round draft pick in 2002, started 11 games last year, but his season was cut short due to a bone bruise in his right foot. Gibbs signed 11-year veteran Brunell and said the quarterback position would be an open competition.
Throughout last season, Ramsey earned league-wide praise for his toughness after numerous hard hits.
Gibbs reiterated that praise on Monday.
"We think the world of Patrick Ramsey," he said. "I looked at all of the films last year and I told him, 'I doubt I would be here if I didn't think he could play quarterback.' He was the guy I was looking at last year to see what kind of talent we had. I thought he played extremely well.
"He got knocked around quite a bit. I think he is smart and tough and we are looking forward to a long future with him."
Ramsey admitted he was disappointed that he didn't win the starting job.
"It's hard to really put into words," he said. "I can't really say I'm disappointed on a scale of one to 10. Obviously I am disappointed. I think there are things I could have done better in the preseason. This is the result of that and I think Mark played well. He deserves it and I fully support him. It's his job now and I hope he leads us to wins."