Backup role at home good fit for Saints’ Ramsey
Even though Patrick Ramsey won’t take a meaningful snap unless
Drew Brees gets hurt, the reserve quarterback said is happy to be
Ramsey, a nine-year NFL veteran, gave up hope of competing for a
starting job when he signed with the Saints on the eve of training
camp, but life as a backup is much more palatable with family and
Ramsey played college football at Tulane, which shares the
Louisiana Superdome with the Saints. He and his wife, Virginia,
grew up in Ruston, La., about a 300-mile drive from New
”The longer you go at this, with kids especially, you kind of
embrace having family around,” said Ramsey, who has two young
daughters. ”It’s just the small things. If we have a road game and
were out of town, she can just drive home and stay with her family
or stay at our house up there.”
Eight years after the Washington Redskins took him in the first
round of the draft, Ramsey is battling second-year undrafted free
agent Chase Daniel for the spot behind Brees on the Saints depth
chart. Rookie seventh-round pick Sean Canfield is next on the depth
Coach Sean Payton said he had not decided whether he’ll keep two
or three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster when the season
Predictably, Ramsey’s first week of practice has been scratchy
as he tries to learn a new system on the fly.
”I’m still working at it,” he said. ”It’s a lot to digest.
It’s like learning how to say the same thing in a different
language at times, and sometimes it’s an entirely new
In a two-minute drill at the Saints’ indoor facility during
Thursday morning’s practice, he kept a drive alive by completing a
45-yard deep ball to Courtney Robey on fourth-and-16.
On the next play, he had a miscommunication with wideout Rod
Harper and hit safety Reggie Jones in the chest for any easy
”He’s got a live arm,” Payton said. ”I’m pleased with his
ability to pick up our offense and run it. There will be little
nuances he will continue to work on, but overall he’s handling it
Ramsey, who started 23 times in his first three seasons with the
Redskins, has grown accustomed to being a backup. His last start
came in 2005. Aside from a 46-pass day in relief of an injured Jay
Cutler for Denver in 2007, he has thrown six times in the last four
years. He never left the sideline in stints with Tennessee and
Detroit a year ago while recuperating from 2008 elbow surgery.
His goals in New Orleans are different than they were early in
”If Drew doesn’t miss a snap, being a success for me is making
our defense better while running the scout team against them,”
Ramsey said. ”I’ll learn from Drew and always be ready to go out
there and run our offense efficiently.”
If he is no more than a cheerleader from the sideline for the
defending Super Bowl champs, he’ll accept that, too. His NFL teams
have finished with winning record only twice in his eight years.
Although he won in the classroom at Tulane, earning a double major
in accounting and finance, the Green Wave never earned a bowl bid
in his three years as a starter.
He hopes that’s the other advantage of returning to his home
”At this point in my career I just want to win games,” Ramsey
said. ”I asked Chase do you realize how lucky you are to have won
(a Super Bowl) in your first year? I don’t know what it feels like
to win one after playing eight years.”
Notes: Tight end Jeremy Shockey returned after missing seven
practices with a sore knee. … Linebacker Scott Shanle (sprained
left knee) missed his third consecutive day. Cornerbacks Tracy
Porter (back spasms) and Patrick Robinson (hamstring) sat out after
getting hurt Wednesday morning. Defensive lineman Jimmy Wilkerson
rested as a precaution after having knee surgery in January. …
Daniel produced the only touchdown in the two-minute drill, hitting
rookie tight end Jimmy Graham in the end zone on fourth-and-16
against the second-team defense. Brees yelled in frustration when
his fourth-down pass glanced of receiver Marques Colston’s hands.
All drives started at the offense’s 25 with 1:58 left on the clock.
… Garrett Hartley connected on a 60-yard field goal during
practice, then missed his next two from 38 and 41 yards. … The
Saints’ Black and Gold scrimmage has been set for noon ET Saturday
and will be open to the public, weather permitting.