The Redskins' offensive goal each game is to score three touchdowns and a field goal.
For the past eight games, including the playoff defeat to Minnesota, six exhibitions this summer and Sunday's 20-17 loss to the New York Giants. Washington has failed to achieve that goal.
While last year's offensive line helped produce the most yards rushing in the team's history, the running game has been sputtering since the start of camp. While the causes are many, the primary one appears to be Mike Thomas' leg.
Thomas, the team's main outside threat, participated in only five practices and three game plays on the preseason because of a hamstring injury. He started against the Giants and was rusty.
For Thomas, the second week of the regular season is very much like training camp.
"I'm just sore, just like two-a-days," he said. "I've still got my confidence and I'm still relaxed. I don't think play against the Giants was that bad, considering I missed thewhole preseason, which was unfortunate. I"ll be okay after this week."
Offensive backfield coach Joe Walton was pleased with Thomas' first game, considering the circumstances.
"Mike gave good effort," Walton said. "But it was like his first scrimmage: he's like he's still in training camp. There are certain things you have to get into the game to perfect. That's what we have training camp and the exhibition games for - to sharpen your talents. You can't walk in off the street and do it."
Offensive coordinator Carlie Walr refused to accept the Thomas' physical problems as a reason for the b-par offensive showing against the Giants. "That's negative," he said, and I don't like to make excuses."
He suggested that the Redskins could have scored their third touchown and iced the game - at 20-10 - allowing Jake Scott's interception except for two penalties.
At this point - going into Sunday's game against a Falcon defense that [WORD ILLEGIBLE] the NFC in stopping the fun and ranks second overall - the Redskins are confident they can Solve their problems.
"It think the offense will be better this week," said tight end Jean [WORD ILLEGIBLE] "It will be just like last year when we started slow. We were lucky to get by the Giants in the first game; last week we weren't as lucky."
"It's like an eight-cylinder engine," said left tackle Tim Stokes. "If all the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] aren't clicking, you've got trouble. On defense, you have one guy who can make a big play; on offense, you need all 11 guys clicking.
"How many high-scoring games did you see last week? Defense are awfully tough these days."
A check of the results bore out stoke's contention.
Only six of the 28 NFL teams scored more than 20 points in their opener. The most points scored was 30, by the Chicago Bears, and seven teams failed to score a touchdown, i ncluding such usual offensive machines as the St. Louis Cardinals and the Buffalo Bills.
Coach George Allen still refuses to confirm whether Pat Fischer will start at left cornerback Sunday. But Gerard Williams, who replaced Fischer in the preseason and the first game as Fischer recovered from a pinched nerve in his back, has not worked with the first unit for the last three days . . . Another source said after yesterday's closed practice that Allen would make no announcement concerning Fischer until game time . . . Guard Terry Hermelling, who spent two days in the hospital with the flu, attended meetings yesterday, but did not practice and trainer Bubba Tyer said Hermeling was weaker than "we originally thought he'd be" . . . Allen, in a testy mood following his second straight closed practice, said Hermeling may join Chris Hanburger on the taxi squad this week. . . Hanburger visited Redskin Park for the first time since his Sept. 1 appendectomy, but did not attend meetings or stay for practice . . . Wide receiver Frank Grant did not run at full speed again. "I'll wait one more day so I don't aggravate it the strained grain muscle as I did at training camp." Grant said "A lot of the time I felt like I could have gone all out. One more day of rest won't hurt it any."