Chase's arrival to bolster thin line

THE BALTIMORE SUN

ASHBURN, Va. - The Washington Redskins didn't waste much time introducing defensive tackle Martin Chase to their brand of football.

"They've already hit at me," Chase said yesterday after his first practice at Redskins Park. "When I first got it, I came over here and got into the playbook. Basically, I'm taking my time and learning the system and getting to know the plays."

Chase's tutorial could include some playing time against the Ravens in tomorrow's preseason game at FedEx Field. Although tackles Jermaine Haley and Bernard Holsey are expected to start, the coaching staff is preparing Chase for some action.

Washington acquired Chase Wednesday from the New Orleans Saints for a seventh-round draft choice in next year's draft that could be upgraded to a sixth-round pick if Chase is involved in at least 40 percent of the snaps.

Chase beefs up a defensive line reeling from the departures of former Redskins Daryl Gardener (who signed with the Denver Broncos) and Dan Wilkinson (who signed with the Detroit Lions) and the loss of tackle Brandon Noble, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against the New England Patriots last Saturday.

Although Holsey and recently signed James Cannida are ahead of Chase on the depth chart, Chase - a backup who has started four games since being drafted in 1998 by the Ravens - said he was excited to hear his name being bandied about in trade talks.

"I was basically happy to hear something like that because I might have an opportunity to come here - or anywhere - to get a chance to start," Chase said. "This is a big opportunity for me."

At 6 feet 2 and 310 pounds, Chase is considered to be more effective against the run than against the pass. His skills should come in handy for a defensive unit that is surrendering 150 rushing yards a game.

Ramsey, Canidate to start

Quarterback Patrick Ramsey will start against the Ravens, but coach Steve Spurrier said Ramsey would not play the entire first half like he did against New England.

A bruised knuckle on Ramsey's throwing hand has affected his grip on the football. Although the injury has improved, Spurrier said Ramsey would probably play just the first quarter.

"He needs to play, but he needs to be healthy," Spurrier said. "It doesn't make sense to put him out there and get hit a whole bunch."

Spurrier also said that while Trung Canidate would start at running back, Ladell Betts should see extended action.

Betts, a second-round pick in last year's draft, has missed the first two preseason games due to a sprained left elbow, but he returned to full-contact drills this week.

Betts is currently battling Canidate, Kenny Watson and Chad Morton for the starting running back role.

Finally, rookie offensive lineman Derrick Dockery will get his first start when he fills in for ailing left guard Randy Thomas (sprained ankle).

Beltway Bowl III

Several Redskins said they are looking forward to tomorrow's game against the Ravens.

"There are some Beltway bragging rights," said wide receiver Rod Gardner. "You're right down the street. You want to win the game, so when we see those boys out in D.C., they can't say anything."

"It's not like it is in college where you have rivalries, but it's nice to have a close game that brings a little bit more out," said offensive tackle Jon Jansen. "We want to make sure we come out and show up for them."

Although the teams have split two regular-season meetings, this will be their first preseason contest.

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