Monk in unusual position of trying to play catch-up Passing game gets receiver down

November 20, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

ASHBURN, Va. -- This has been a roller-coaster season for Art Monk.

There was the high of the Monday night game against the Denver Broncos on Oct. 12 when the Washington Redskins veteran wide receiver caught seven passes to break Steve Largent's career reception record of 819 catches.

The rest of the season, though, has been mostly a downer. As leader of the Posse, he's been caught up in the malaise of the passing game.

"This is probably the toughest it's ever been for us as a group and [me] personally. It's frustrating, especially when you really can't put a finger on what the problem is, really," he said.

In five of the 10 games, he's been limited to one or two catches. He's yet to catch a touchdown pass and has just 35 catches -- a pace of 56 for the season. That would be his lowest total in a non-strike year since 1983 when he missed the first four games with an injury and finished with 47.

The soft-spoken Monk, who rarely gives interviews, yesterday discussed the frustrating season for the first time since his record-breaking night.

"Personal accomplishments really don't mean anything unless the team does well. I'm just kind of glad the whole record thing is behind me and now I and everybody else can pay full attention to the team trying to win. We know we're capable of playing better than we are and when we don't, it makes it real frustrating," he said.

Along with the other two members of the Posse, Ricky Sanders and Gary Clark, he's looked at old film in an attempt to find out what's wrong.

"We're going crazy trying to figure it out. Somehow, we haven't been able to get it untracked. You could say it's a combination of several things, the line being battered, a lot of new guys and new faces in there, [guys] being switched around. We feel like we're still doing the same things we did last year and the year before as far as routes and execution and stuff like that," he said.

Monk knows the fans are quick to blame the receivers when things go wrong in the passing game.

"When the passing game doesn't go, it's always the receivers aren't getting open, blah, blah. We feel like we're the ones taking the heat," he said.

Quarterback Mark Rypien also is getting a lot of heat, but not from Monk.

"I'd rather blame myself," Monk said. "I'm not going to point any fingers. We're all struggling. I can't put it all on Ryp. That's what has us so baffled."

Monk doesn't worry about the speculation that at age 34, he could have lost a step.

/# "I'm not really concerned about

that. I can't play for other people. I have to play for myself and for this team. In times like these, I always sit back and try to be objective about things and to be critical of myself. I think the coaches have enough sense to know that if I'm not doing the job, they'll pull me out of there. I wouldn't want to be in there if I wasn't really doing my part," Monk said.

Monk, though, still isn't ready to give up on this season.

"We're very optimistic. We know that first of all, despite our problems, we're still in the hunt for the playoffs."

He hopes they can start turning it around Monday night against the New Orleans Saints.

"We're all taking it upon ourselves to get things going. We still believe in what we do," he said.

NOTES: The Redskins had six players miss practice, including all three Johnsons -- A.J. (knee), Tim (rib) and Sidney (knee, hip). The other three sidelined players were Joe Jacoby (back), Mark Schlereth (knee) and Danny Copeland (neck). . . . CB Darrell Green still is limited to running, but hopes to get an update on his status today when he has an X-ray of his broken forearm.

Monk game by game

A5

Opponent.. .. .. ..Rec .. .. ..Yds.. .. .. TDs

at Dallas.. .. .. .. .. 2 .. .. ...43 .. .. .. . 0

Atlanta .. .. .. .. ... 6 .. .. ... 44 .. .. .. . 0

Detroit .. .. .. .. ... 1 .. .. ... 12 .. .. .... 0

at Phoenix .. .. .. ... 3 .. .. ... 59 .. .. .. ..0

Denver .. .. .. .. .. ..7 .. .. .. .69 .. .. .. . 0

Philadelphia .. .. .. ..6 .. .. .. .96 .. .. .. . 0

at Minnesota .. .. .. ..2 .. .. .. .25 .. .. .. ..0

N.Y. Giants .. .. .. .. 5 .. .. ... 61 .. .. .. . 0

at Seattle .. .. .. ... 1 .. .. .....9 .. .. .. . 0

at Kansas City .. .. ...2 .. .. .. .19 .. .. .... 0

Totals.. .. .. .. .. ..35 .. .. .. .437 .. .. .. 0

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