Tailback Stephen Davis said he is uncertain about being able to practice this week and play at the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. But he said his injured right knee has improved and he hoped to return to the Washington Redskins' lineup.
"It's getting progressively better," Davis said. "It's a lot better than last week. If it continues to get better every day, hopefully I can do some things this week and play on Sunday."
Redskins Coach Steve Spurrier said, "It's wait and see as the week progresses."
Davis was inactive for this past Sunday's 14-3 triumph at Seattle. Kenny Watson made his first NFL start and rushed for 110 yards on 23 carries, and rookie Ladell Betts added 37 yards on five carries.
Davis last had missed a game during the 2000 season. But he sprained his medial collateral ligament against Tennessee Oct. 6 and reinjured himself nine days ago against Indianapolis, apparently damaging his hamstring where it attaches to the knee. His attitude yesterday seemed to fall somewhere between his skepticism last week about being ready to play in Seattle and his usual certainty about being able to play through injuries.
"If I can get better every day, it'll be a game-time decision," Davis said.
The Redskins proved they could run the ball effectively with Watson, but the Seahawks are last in the NFL against the rush. The Jaguars are 26th in run defense.
The Redskins face only one more team, the Philadelphia Eagles, that currently has a winning record -- with Spurrier having moved toward an offensive approach that balances the run and the pass. The club is on its first two-game winning streak of the Spurrier era, and had more rushing plays than passes in each of those games. The Redskins have had more runs than passes in three straight games overall, and quarterback Shane Matthews completed only 10 of 27 throws for 114 yards in Seattle.
"I don't think I've ever been as frustrated during the course of a game as I was" Sunday, Matthews said. "Two or three weeks from now, nobody is going to remember how ugly we played in Seattle. They're only going to remember we won."
Spurrier said: "When you have some success throwing, you keep doing it. When you don't have much success, you have to sort of back away and try something else."
Spurrier remained less than enthused yesterday about the way his team is playing because of the struggles in the passing game.
"It's disappointing because we threw the ball better the first preseason game in Osaka," Spurrier said. "It's just not working right now real well, but we'll keep practicing with our guys and try to get it going. I don't have any real answer. You're supposed to improve as you go. But right now, I would think we sometimes looked a little better in the preseason, running routes and throwing it where you're supposed to, than what we're doing right now."
His players were more forgiving.
"We're just trying to go with what works," Watson said. "If the passing game is working, I'm pretty sure he's going to stick with it. If the running game is working, I'm pretty sure he's going to stick with that. We've had more of a mix the last couple weeks. . . . We put ourselves back in a good position to make a run for the playoffs."
The offense has reduced its mistakes in recent weeks with Matthews back at the helm, and the defense has moved into the top 10 in the league rankings.
"I like developing a team with the identity that we win any way we can," right tackle Jon Jansen said.
Samuels Feeling Better
Left tackle Chris Samuels said he emerged from Sunday's game with his left ankle in good condition. Samuels said he believes he and the team made the right decision in sitting him down for the Colts game after he tried to play through a series of injuries, including a sprained ankle suffered during the preseason. "I feel pretty good," Samuels said. "That was probably the healthiest I was all season. I thought I played a pretty good game." . . .
Wide receiver Rod Gardner will be limited in practice this week by a sore shoulder but should be able to play Sunday, Spurrier said. Spurrier said there is a good chance that right guard Brenden Stai will be available after sitting out three games because of an ailing left knee. Defensive lineman Carl Powell suffered a strained groin muscle Sunday, and his status this week is unclear.