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Royal Building In Confidence




The dominant theme out of the Redskins' locker room this week is that they're still trying to find ways to get their offense rolling more consistently.

At Dallas, one player who showed signs that he's ready to step up for the offense is third-year tight end Robert Royal, who came up with three catches for 19 yards.

On his increased role in the scheme, Royal said: "It just so happened that in the Dallas game, with the coverage that the Cowboys played, I was able to catch a few balls. Hopefully, things continue to go well.

"First of all, we want to do a better job of getting Clinton [Portis] the ball and getting the running game going. At Dallas, we were able to complete some balls over the top, so maybe that will take some pressure off the running game."

The 6-4, 257-pound LSU product had just one catch, for 11 yards, in the Redskins' 9-7 win over Chicago in the opener. At Dallas, though, he was a favorite target of Mark Brunell, especially in the early going of a game Washington rallied to win 14-13.

Said Royal: "We're trying to get confidence and a swagger going. We're trying to build an identity as an offensive unit."

Royal finished the 2004 season in strong fashion, catching TD passes in four of the Redskins' final five games. He's hoping to pick up the pace, beginning with Sunday's Week 4 matchup versus the 2-1 Seattle Seahawks at FedExField (1 p.m.).

Veteran wide receiver David Patten said Redskins fans should expect more close games, such as those of Week 1 versus the Bears and Week 2 at Dallas. Both contests, of course, were decided late.

"With so much parity in the league, you're going to get tight games," the former New England Patriot said. "Every game is decided by three or four key plays. Fortunately, we won two close games in the last minutes.

"That just goes to show that, even though we weren't successful down the field for three quarters of the game, if you hit deep passes in the last few minutes, it can work out in your best interest."

Patten cautioned, though, that the Redskins need to be more aggressive offensively. More importantly, he adds, the team needs to show that it can sustain drives. That will be a particular challenge on Sunday, since the Seattle defense has shown that it isn't one to give up a lot of long gains.

Added the nine-year veteran: "The Seahawks pursue well to the ball. I haven't seen them give up too many big plays. They're a defense that believes in making the offense beat you and not giving up big plays."

On the offense's struggle to score touchdowns, running back Ladell Betts said:

"It's a matter of execution. As long as we get everyone on the same page and people take care of their assignments, we'll be fine.

"Guys had a chance to get their bodies healed up and get a little time away from football. We're back, energetic, and ready to go--hopefully, to get this team to 3-0. But we've got our work cut out for us. Seattle is a good team."

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