Jet win is down Pat

Ramsey dull in D.C.

BY RICH CIMINI
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER



WASHINGTON - Patrick Ramsey began his return to FedEx Field last night the same way he left - flat on his back.
On the Jets' first play from scrimmage, Ramsey, battered and benched throughout his four seasons with the Redskins, was sacked by blitzing cornerback Kenny Wright. Call it a case of deja boo-boo.

Ramsey, who started for Chad Pennington (excused because of a family illness), stayed in the game and played four series, but he provided no spark in the Jets' 27-14 victory. If there were any doubt about the identity of the starting quarterback, it's gone now.

When Pennington returns from his family's home in Tennessee, it's his team. Still.

For one quarter, the Jets (1-1) were sloppy and lifeless, but they received two huge jolts of electricity from a pair of rookies, Brad Smith and Leon Washington. Smith scored on a 61-yard reverse and Washington returned a kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown, giving Eric Mangini his first win as the Jets' coach.

"It feels better than last week, but it's just another step in our preparation for the season," he said. "There won't be any party hats or horns."

Mangini should feel good about his rookie class, especially his two fourth-rounders, Smith and Washington.

"It felt good to be in the end zone," said Smith, a college quarterback-turned-receiver. "It's my favorite place to be."

Aside from the rookies, there wasn't much to get excited about. Unable to handle Washington's blitz, Ramsey (6-for-9, 33 yards) was in a chuck-and-duck mode, attempting no passes beyond five yards. He was sacked twice. In two games, the Jets have yet to demonstrate a vertical passing attack under rookie coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.

Ramsey, acquired in an offseason trade with Washington, is in a serious fight for the backup job. Brooks Bollinger isn't going quietly. Neither is rookie Kellen Clemens.

"He did some good things," Mangini said of Ramsey, "but, early on, he could've gotten rid of the ball earlier on a couple of plays."

Bollinger, who replaced Ramsey in the second quarter, ran and passed the second-team offense to a couple of field goals. Remarkably, one drive lasted 23 plays. Bollinger completed 10 of 16 passes for 69 yards, and he scrambled for another 35 yards, a dimension than neither Ramsey nor Pennington can provide.

"But you need to have 23 plays and a touchdown," said Mangini, not easily impressed.

Clemens, impressive last week in his pro debut, responded with another decent outing in mop-up duty. Playing the fourth quarter, he went 2-for-4 for 2 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Newhouse.

Without Pennington and Curtis Martin, still sidelined with a career-threatening knee injury, the Jets' offense had a different feel. Another familiar face, Justin McCareins, was nearly invisible, too.

McCareins' stock has dropped so much that he was the fifth wideout to enter the game. McCareins could be traded for a running back, perhaps the Falcons' T.J. Duckett. McCareins finished with only two catches for 10 yards, all in the second half.

There was another curiosity. Cedric Houston, thought to be in contention for starting job at running back, didn't play until the second half.

Mangini decided to give a long audition to Derrick Blaylock, who ran hard in gaining 46 yards on 10 carries. It represented progress for the running game, but probably not enough for the Jets to call off their search for a proven runner.

"I liked the way he attacked the hole this week," Mangini said.

Save for Smith's spectacular run and a 23-yard scramble by Bollinger, which set up a field goal, the Jets were ineffective on offense. But everything came together on Smith's run. Doing an impersation of Antwaan Randle El, who was on the opposite sideline, Smith showed plenty of speed and received four terrific blocks - from Ramsey, rookie center Nick Mangold, guard Pete Kendall and rookie left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, who atoned for an earlier false-start penalty.

Bam, bam, bam, touchdown.