Walter Stanley says he has been "one block away" from breaking three or four punt returns. He did return one for 23 yards against Phoenix and is eighth in the NFC with an 8.1-yard average.

But Stanley is eager for the big break. He led the NFL with a 13.8 average last season and that is one of the reasons the Washington Redskins signed the wide receiver as a Plan B free agent from Detroit.

"It's getting closer," he said. "No doubt about it. I know everybody is waiting and it's going to come. This would be a good time for it to happen, with us playing the Giants again."

Stanley had a busy day in Sunday's 13-7 victory over Philadelphia. He had four fair catches and two returns for 22 yards. With Joe Howard nursing a sore knee, Stanley also joined Brian Mitchell on the kickoff return team and returned one 23 yards.

Having caught only two passes, Stanley said his return work has become even more important to him. "I'd like to get more work at wide receiver," he said, "but until I do, this is my job. I've always felt I was a guy who was going to make things happen." . . .

Mitchell is third in the NFC in kickoff returns, averaging 21.6 yards. Koch Practices

Markus Koch participated in much of yesterday's practice and it appears unlikely he'll be placed on injured reserve. However, Fred Stokes likely will start at right defensive end.