- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 21, 2002

One hundred-and-ten points and a gaudy 101.8 pass rating in their 3-0 preseason start might have put the Washington Redskins among the NFL leaders, but it's not good enough for coach Steve Spurrier.
"We're not near what we're supposed to be," he said yesterday. "Hopefully, we can run the ball better. Our offense is hopefully going to get better."
Scoring at least 35 points in each game has masked some offensive woes. The Pittsburgh Steelers were leading the Redskins 17-0 at halftime Sunday night. The Steelers' starters departed in the second half, and Washington rallied to win 35-34. The running game is averaging 2.6 yards a carry. Running back Stephen Davis' longest gain was 10 yards, and he has accumulated 31 yards on 11 carries in the past two games.
The Redskins are clearly a pass-first offense, so the unbalanced offensive ratio 143 passes to 61 runs was dismissed by several players. However, few NFL teams pass more than 55 percent of the time during the regular season. Spurrier expects to run consistently in the regular season when defenses play more conservatively against the pass and pull linebackers and safeties from the line.
"As long as we're scoring points, it doesn't matter if it's passing or running to me," offensive tackle Jon Jansen said. "If we were worried about averages, we wouldn't be as successful as we've been in the preseason."
The Redskins have run in spurts but haven't rushed for a touchdown; they have 13 scores passing. Comparably, opponents have scored five rushing and three passing.
"We've been working on the running game," Spurrier said. "It just hasn't been going very far."
Ironically, worries about an unbalanced offense amused some players after last season, when the Redskins averaged 16 points a game.
"Last year in preseason, we couldn't run or pass, and we ended up running the ball pretty well during the season," guard Ross Tucker said.
The Redskins are still undecided on a starting quarterback, with Danny Wuerffel opening against Tampa Bay on Saturday. Shane Matthews will play most of the second half, with rookie Patrick Ramsey possibly making his debut in the fourth quarter. Sage Rosenfels isn't expected to play.
Wuerffel appears to be the front-runner with a 117.4 passing rating, higher than both Matthews (86.5) and Rosenfels (103.6). The trio produced six turnovers against Pittsburgh but also threw five touchdowns.
"Some people can't throw and catch against the wind for as many yards as our guys threw for the last few games," Spurrier said. "We're throwing it around pretty decent right now. We've made some progress, but we expect to improve."
Washington also must decide on its receiver rotation, with Derrius Thompson starting alongside Rod Gardner against Tampa Bay. Thompson appears to be a front-runner to start after entering the preseason uncertain of even making the roster. Thompson has 16 receptions for 307 yards and four touchdowns after catching only three regular-season passes last year.
Chris Doering may be the third receiver over Jacquez Green and Kevin Lockett, also catching 16 passes for 210 yards and one touchdown.
"Chris runs very good routes, has excellent hands, loves to compete,'' Spurrier said.
Darnerien McCants, who was inactive for each game last season as a rookie, may have gained an edge over Reidel Anthony for the final receiver slot. McCants' seven catches for 110 yards and three touchdowns have drawn raves from Spurrier.

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