HERNDON, VA — HERNDON, Va. -- Gary Clark had a simple message for Stan Humphries yesterday.
"We told him, 'Stick with us and we'll make you a star,' " Clark said with a smile.
Clark was talking about the Washington Redskins' Posse, which consists of Clark, Art Monk and Ricky Sanders.
When quarterback Humphries makes his first regular-season start Sunday against the Phoenix Cardinals, the Posse is the best thing he has going for him.
It can make any quarterback look good.
There's only one problem. The Posse hasn't been riding to the rescue for the Redskins this year.
Nobody seems more puzzled than Monk, the senior member of the group, by its disappointing play.
"I don't think we've really played well this year," Monk said. "Why, I don't know. We're trying to find out."
Monk, Clark and Sanders were expected to pick up where they left off last year, when they were the second trio of receivers in the history of the game each to gain 1,000 yards in receiving yardage.
In the opener, the three combined for 15 catches in a 31-0 rout of the Cardinals.
But they've struggled in the past two games -- a 26-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers and a 19-15 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
Although they combined for 13 catches against San Francisco, they didn't come up with big plays. They combined for 11 receptions against Dallas, but they kept the Cowboys in the game by committing six of the team's eight dropped passes.
"It was just one of those days we couldn't hold onto the ball," Monk said. "Nothing seemed to go right for us. We just have to work harder this week, concentrate a little bit more, and, hopefully, we'll turn things around."
On Humphries' first play Sunday after Mark Rypien was injured, he threw a perfect pass into the arms of Sanders in the end zone, but Sanders dropped it.
"You don't want dropped balls," Monk said. "It's our job to catch the ball. When we have a bad day in catching the ball, we feel we're letting the team down and we're not doing our part. We hope that won't happen too often."
Monk still is frustrated by the Posse's showing against Dallas.
"We were excited about coming into this year, especially after the way we played at the end of last year," he said. "It's frustrating to know we're not operating the way we should be. We're human, just like everybody else. There are going to be good days and bad days."
The receivers would like to make it easier for Humphries to look good in his first start.
"Stan hasn't had much experience being in there, and we have to help him out as much as we can," Monk said. "At the same time, we have confidence in him. We're comfortable with him, and I think he should do OK."
Clark has been bothered by a sore hamstring that prevented him from practicing last week.
He was able to practice yesterday and hopes the bye next week gives him a chance to heal further.
"We didn't play a great game last week," Clark said. "We didn't play a bad game, but we had a few drops, and the bad thing was that we had some drops on third downs, which kills drives. If you drop one on first or second down, you have a chance to redeem yourself. Hopefully, we'll go out to Phoenix and play a better game. We don't want to have any drops."
Clark displays a lot of confidence in Humphries.
"He has a level head on his shoulders, and he's bright quarterback," Clark said. "He has a really good arm. I'm sure he's going to come through. This may be Stan's break. I'm sure he wants to take full advantage of it."
NOTES: The Redskins made another change in their secondary when they signed cornerback Johnny Thomas and cut Wayne Davis, who had signed with the team Friday when Clarence Vaughn went on the injured-reserve list. Thomas was drafted by the Redskins in 1987 and since has played with the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs. . . . Defensive lineman Eric Williams, who is questionable with a shoulder injury, was the only player who didn't practice yesterday.