George Rogers' and Kelvin Bryant's version of a three-point stance yesterday was kneeling on one knee during practice.

While Rogers and Bryant watched, Keith Griffin and rookie Timmy Smith took most of the work at running back, and Washington Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs said Griffin probably will start Sunday against the New York Jets at RFK Stadium. He said Smith will play a lot, as well.

So, barring a last-minute change of heart, Gibbs will use Rogers (sore toe and shoulder) and Bryant (sore hamstring) only in specific roles. He said Rogers will play in short-yardage situations, Bryant in long-yardage situations.

"I think our back situation is really unsettled," Gibbs said after yesterday's practice. "In the past, we've had just a John Riggins or just a George Rogers. This year has been turmoil."

Another solitary figure yesterday was tight end Joe Caravello, whose back was so sore he couldn't even kneel on one knee. A former replacement player, he initially was going to play a lot on Sunday. But he stood stiffly on the sidelines yesterday and walked -- not ran -- to the locker room after the workout. At one point, he whispered to replacement teammate Craig McEwen: "I feel like a jerk standing here. I don't want these guys to think I'm trying to milk this thing by getting hurt."

Actually, McEwen is the willing beneficiary of Caravello's injury. Gibbs has decided that only one ex-replacement player will be activated for Sunday's game: Caravello, if he's well, or McEwen.

Redskins trainer Bubba Tyer has presented Caravello with a back brace and has told him to get a good night's rest. If he's well enough to play, Gibbs will use him in short yardage situations, right in front of the halfback. His job will be to charge his 270-pound frame into the line of scrimmage, the way fullback Otis Wonsley used to do for Riggins.

If McEwen plays, he'll be a backup H-back. Gibbs said tight end Terry Orr, who has been on injured reserve with a sore shoulder, also will be activated because he's a competent special teams player and because it makes sense to activate him now when teams are allowed to make free moves off their injured list.

H-back Clint Didier (hamstring) also will be activated, and he'll start Sunday opposite regular tight end Don Warren.

As for Rogers, his wish is to start, too.

"Man, I'm gonna play," said Rogers, who will wear a thick-soled shoe Sunday to protect his toe. "My toe and shoulder, neither one is worse than the other. I guess I'm pretty healthy for a change."

In fact, Tyer says Rogers hasn't made one visit to the trainer's room since the NFL strike ended last week.

"Of course, either injury could reoccur with one hit," Tyer said yesterday. "Tomorrow {today}, we'll have to see how he and Kelvin can do on the field. We'd like to see he and Kelvin practice if they can."

Bryant would not comment yesterday.

The Redskins are required to name Sunday's 45-man roster by 4 p.m. today, and some old, recognizable names will come off the injured list, such as those of linebacker Neal Olkewicz (knee) and tackle Mark May (knee).

Right now, the most unsettled positions obviously are running back and tight end. "But I still think we'll be jelled as an offense come Sunday," Didier said.

Didier also gave a unique compliment yesterday to the replacment tight ends, Caravello and McEwen. "They look like professional-caliber football players," he said.

McEwen gasped when he heard that.

"That means a lot for me to hear that from Clint," he said. "Makes me feel surer about myself."

If McEwen is activated over Caravello, he says he'll be the first person out of Northport High School on Long Island to play in the NFL.

"I've battled against all odds since high school," he said.

In a nutshell, here's his battle:

He couldn't get a scholarship when he finished the 12th grade. He says he was too slow. He walked on at Santa Ana (Calif.) Community College, because his father was living out there. He played a couple seasons and then called San Diego State.

He was turned down.

He called Cal State Fullerton.

He was turned down.

He called San Jose State.

He was turned down.

He called Utah.

He was turned down.

He quit calling people and began working as a security guard for a hospital.

One day when he was trying to fix his car's fuel pump, the phone rang. Utah offered him a scholarship.

So he played there, and Redskins General Manager Bobby Beathard saw him have a big day last year against Texas-El Paso. And that's how he ended up in Washington's training camp as a free agent.

He was cut, but brought back to play during the strike. Against Dallas last Monday night, he caught seven passes for 108 yards. His longest play that night was a 42-yard reception, and he says his longest reception in college was only 23 yards.

His friends back home found it hard to believe he got so wide open.

"Well, my nickname used to be 'No Jets' McEwen," he says. "During my 42-yarder, my friends said the network could've cut out to a commercial and I would've still been running when they came back. They said, 'We know you can't run, Craig. Why'd you have to show it on national television?' "

So this is the Redskins' newest H-back.

"As long as these {replacement} guys can help the team, I don't care who they are," guard R.C. Thielemann said. "Of course, what does it matter what we think, anyway? That was some democracy in Chicago. The Bears voted 44-1 to kick the replacement guys out, and {Coach Mike} Ditka kept 'em, anyway. It'd be the same way here."