Philadelphia Eagles Coach Buddy Ryan said recently that the Washington Redskins had the best offensive personnel in the NFL. Best, period. Better than the Joe Montana-Jerry Rice combo in San Francisco and better than Jim Everett-Henry Ellard in Los Angeles.

Ryan probably was starting the annual mind games a few weeks early, but it's clear that the Redskins begin this season with a potentially devastating offense.

They have three of the game's best receivers, a deep and talented line and a young quarterback, Mark Rypien, who was the NFL's fifth-rated passer last season.

If third-down specialist Kelvin Bryant can stay healthy and one of three veteran running backs -- Gerald Riggs, Earnest Byner or James Wilder -- emerges as a consistent performer, the Redskins may return to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.

Defensively, the recovery of cornerback Darrell Green from wrist surgery and the signing of Plan B safety Brad Edwards could solidify a decent secondary, leaving questions at linebacker and with the pass rush. Three Plan B defensive linemen have been signed, but the best of them, Jumpy Geathers, may not be recovered from knee surgery until sometime in the regular season.

Still, the Redskins probably need only a bit of luck and good health to be back in NFC East title contention.

"We came up one game short last year," Coach Joe Gibbs said. "If we can start out this year the way we finished {five consecutive victories}, we'll be all right."

Some of last season's injuries aren't yet healed. Veteran linemen Joe Jacoby and Mark May are still recovering from knee injuries, and while Jacoby is ahead of May, both might open the season on injured reserve.

It's even bleaker for cornerback A.J. Johnson, who had reconstructive knee surgery a month ago and could miss the season.

General Manager Charley Casserly had four difficult contracts to negotiate this winter, and he finished two -- Jim Lachey and Charles Mann -- quickly. Both got three-year deals, each believed to approximate $800,000 per season.

The first day of camp is a week from today in Carlisle, Pa., and it's likely Casserly's final two signings will go down to the last hour.

Riggs, who earned $500,000 last season, is believed to be seeking about $900,000 per season. The Redskins apparently are offering to guarantee much less than that and give Riggs what he wants only if he stays healthy. The sides are far apart and haven't had many talks.

Defensive tackle Darryl Grant, who is his own agent, earned $357,500 last season and apparently wants about $800,000. The Redskins are offering much less.

Only one of their 10 draft picks has signed, but none is expected to be a problem.