The numbers are meager, just part of a "frustrating" year, says Brian Davis. Two solo tackles. One recovered fumble. Nine total hits on special teams. One key block on a punt return. Four games on injured reserve. Four games played. No games started.

Davis had dreamed of a better beginning with the Washington Redskins. He had heard enough of Tory Nixon and Walter Murray, second-round draft choices who failed before him. He brought up the issue of being a white cornerback, a rarity in pro football. He talked all about pressure and publicity. And he said all along he just wanted to play football.

With two games remaining in Davis' first pro regular season, playing the game is the one thing Davis hasn't been able to do that often. In his second week of training camp, back in early August, Davis strained a thigh muscle. It finally got to the point where the team put him on injured reserve midway through the season. He came back to play at St. Louis, recovering the fumble and causing another. He played on special teams against Dallas. He will do the same at Miami Sunday night, and probably will get to watch quarterback Dan Marino fling passes his way as a sixth defensive back in certain long-yardage situations.

Davis definitely is not in the same category as Nixon or Murray. Both were traded without ever playing a regular season game for the Redskins. He is not the disappointment that running back Richard Williams was in 1983, or injury-ridden defensive tackle Bob Slater was in 1984. But, in a league where top draft choices and second-round picks (Davis is both) sometimes start and often make strong first impressions, Davis is doing neither.

"Nobody's been able to see if I can play or not yet," Davis said yesterday sitting on a bench after practice at Redskin Park. "I still have to fight with my legs. I still haven't been able to play like I know I can play. Every step of the way, people will doubt you. That's human nature. It will happen. I just wish I could show them something."

Unless someone gets injured, Davis will be relegated to the bench for much of the rest of the season and playoffs. He won't be replacing Darrell Green or Barry Wilburn, who is having a much better year than anyone expected.

His chief role will be covering kickoffs and punts and helping to set up punt returns. Those are duties that rarely are on the resume of a man with a four-year contract worth about $1 million. Davis knows more is expected of him. He expects more of himself.

"I like special teams," Davis said. "I enjoy running. But it's not my position. Sure, people see me run down on kickoffs or something. Big deal. I know I've got to do that, but my position is what really comes first to me. I want to get back to the way I felt before. I want to line up, really sure of myself, like I felt in college. I have never reached that feeling here."

The Redskins have dealt with questions about the performance of their second-round picks for so long that they bring up the issue of "disappointment" before it's asked.

"He's playing more, he's staying healthy, he's improving every week," said assistant head coach/defense Richie Petitbon. "We still have high hopes for Brian. By no means are we disappointed. It's just unfortunate that he wasn't able to stay healthy."

Defensive assistant coach Emmitt Thomas, who oversees the secondary, said an early injury can ruin a year for a player like Davis at a position like cornerback.

"At minicamp, he ran so well {Davis said he ran a 4.2-second 40-yard dash}, but he lost those two weeks at training camp and we thought that really set him back. The pressure of coming here and playing so much man-to-man and bump-and-run was tough. If he had come to a zone team, maybe it wouldn't have affected him that much," Thomas said.

The Redskins are not exactly pushing Davis to take a starting job. If a cornerback spot appeared open in the summer, it's closed now. Wilburn, who leads the NFL with seven interceptions, "has taken some of the pressure off me," Davis said.

"To see Barry come along and play great is encouraging for me," Davis said. "I hope the same thing happens to me. I've got the talent. Sooner or later, it will come through."

Davis couldn't be more agreeable. He speaks softly and candidly about his year. He hates the fact that his 4.2 speed has deserted him since the thigh injury and he's poking along at 4.4 or 4.5 now. He shakes his head, and bangs flick close to his eyes. The eyes look tired. The year has been a burden.

"Every step I've taken, I've been really doubted," he said. "In junior college, at Nebraska, as a white corner. It's rough for me now, but no different than it's been for me before. I think I'm coming along. In this year, I've learned enough now to know what I really need to learn."

Redskins Notes:

Gibbs said it's a "possibility" that blocking tight end Anthony Jones, who suffered a severe injury to his right knee at Denver Dec. 13, 1986, and required surgery, will be activated for Sunday's game. Jones has been practicing with the team for several weeks and has been pronounced fit to play . . . Running back Keith Griffin (quadriceps) and center Russ Grimm (knee) almost certainly will not make the trip to Miami . . . Defensive end Dexter Manley practiced yesterday and said he will play despite a sprained right shoulder.

Redskins season ticket holders who want to go to Super Bowl XXII if the Redskins are there have been sent information on how to get tickets. To order, they must return a card enclosed with a letter sent out by the team by Dec. 31. Fans can request as many Super Bowl tickets as they have season tickets, to a maximum of four. If requests exceed the number of tickets available, a lottery will be held Jan. 5. Those who are not chosen will receive a refund by Jan. 31. The tickets cost $100. If the Redskins don't make it to the Super Bowl, refunds will be mailed Jan. 31.