The conjecture that Allen will use both backs at the same time also ignores Charley Harraway, the Redskins' unsung fullback who is one of the finest blockers in the league and who teamed up with Thomas in Buffalo. Alternating Thomas and Brown, as Don Shula does with Jim Kiick and Mercury Morris, might be the best idea, both for the backs and the Redskins.
"Larry's taken a tremendous pounding every season," Allen says, giving credence to this prospect. "There's no one in all of football with more courage than Larry Brown. We now have the possibility of keeping him fresh and our offense at top efficiency through the entire season. That would lengthen Larry's career three or four years.
"One of my players [George Burman] told me it was inevitable that Duane Thomas would end up as a Redskin," Allen adds. "Every day that he has success, his chances to succeed become greater."
"Every day he's with us," says Waller, "he's becoming more one of us. It's like drawing interest at the bank."
As for the man himself, in a happier mood on his way to the Buffalo stadium than the one he would be in leaving it seven hours later, he answered questions with smiles and long pauses, giving the impression he was putting you on.
What does he think of George Allen?
How does he view his play thus far?
"I'm progressing," Thomas said, "but I'll wait until the end of the exhibition season, then I'll rate myself. There's too many things I'm trying to work on all at the same time right now."
Volunteering for the special teams? The extra work in practice?