HERNDON,VA. — HERNDON, Va. -- Stan Humphries was a teen-ager when Phil Simms was drafted by the New York Giants in 1979.
"I remember watching him play on television," Humphries, 25, said yesterday. "He was a tough guy. I remember seeing him get hit a lot. I admire him for his toughness on the field. I think he's turned into a great quarterback."
Since being drafted by the Washington Redskins in 1988, Humphries has seen Simms play four times, and his opinion hasn't changed.
Simms led the New York Giants to four straight victories over the Redskins in 1988 and 1989.
Humphries, who was on the sidelines for those games, will try to end the streak Sunday, when the Redskins play the Giants at RFK Stadium.
It will be just the second start of Humphries' pro career. Simms has started 125, winning 75.
Since Joe Theismann suffered a broken leg in 1985, the Redskins have made 14 regular-season quarterback changes because of injury, illness or benchings.
Humphries follows in the footsteps of Jay Schroeder, Doug Williams and Mark Rypien, all of whom didn't hold the job for various reasons, although Williams led the team to a Super Bowl victory in 1988.
Simms, by contrast, has been a constant. He's been knocked out by injury on occasion -- he missed two games last year -- but he's remained the starter.
"I think he felt like he had something to prove when they won the Super Bowl, but I always thought he was one of the top quarterbacks," Redskins cornerback Darrell Green said. "He's not the flashy, flamboyant, throw-for-a-thousand yards and all that stuff [type of quarterback], but he has the ability to lead the team."
Simms isn't noted for dazzling statistics -- the most yardage passing he's had against the Redskins in the four games was 255 -- but, as Green said, "The guys look to him as a leader. It's an intangible talent."
Defensive lineman Charles Mann said, "He just has an uncanny knack of making very few mistakes."
Of his games against the Redskins, Simms said: "I can't say we've always played well against the Redskins. It's just that we've made the plays at the proper times."
Humphries, meanwhile, has yet to throw a pass against the Giants, but he said he's not intimidated by their reputation.
"If you're scared of somebody, you shouldn't even be on the field," he said. "This is probably going to be the biggest challenge I've ever had."
NOTES: Giants coach Bill Parcells made light of Redskins coach Joe Gibbs' security provisions. "Spies? I don't have any spies. What do I need spies for? I've got the film. I know what they're working on," Parcells said. Asked how he knew, Parcells said, "They only have four running plays." Gibbs replied, with a smile, "That's right." . . . Defensive end Dexter Manley, who was featured last night on ABC-TV's "Prime Time Live," is eligible to be reinstated Nov. 18, but all indications are that the Redskins will release him if his suspension is lifted.