"Every year we have a bad game," said Redskin middle linebacker Harold McLinton in a classic understatement of Sunday's 45-7 drubbing by New England. "It's a good thing we're playing the Jets . . . so soon."
Friday night's game against New York at RFK Stadium is the last of the preseason. And the Redskin are not spending the short week looking back to the disaster at Foxboro.
"We were criticized and we justly deserved it," said safety Jake Scott. "But that was last week. You look ahead; you don't look back."
"The big thing about that game is that we're not going to dwell on it," said defensive end Dennis Johnson. "One thing I've learned is that you can't change what's happened. You may dwell on something bad. But that's the sign of a loser. Just leave it in New England, where it belongs."
That is what the Redskin defenders say they have done. No one argues that outcome would have different with cornerback Pst Fischer and linebacker Chris Hanburger in the lneup. The Redskins hit similar depths last season, against the Bears and Chiefs.
The defense bounced back last year, enabling the team to make the playoffs for the fifth time in six years. McLinton and other key defenders say there should be no panic now.
"That New England game served two purposes," McLinton said. "It brought us to reality, that we have a lot to do: and it got us in the right frame of mind, that we can get whupped - manhadled - if we aren't ready mentally.
"But we'll be back. There's nothing to lose faith over. We'll be back. That's a fact."
Coach George Allen returned to basics for this week's two major practices in preparation for the newlook Jets, a running team since Joe Namath departed for Los Angeles and therefore a good test for the Washington defense.
"We went over everything as if it were the first day of practice," the coach said after what he labeled a pretty good workout yesterday. "We want to do fewer things and build up their confidence. There is no doubt in my mind we'll have an excellent defense.
"More aggression and more determination make up for a lot of deficiency."
Rusty Tillman, backup middle linebacker and the recognized "King" of the special teams, thinks the absence of Hanburger did make a difference Sunday.
"I'm only a lowly second stringer he said, "but I may have a better perspective on it.
"First, it was an exhibition game, and a younger team is always more fired up. That may sound like an excuse. But it's a fact of life in the NFL. Another big factor is that we didn't have Chris Hanburger. He's our (defensive) quarterback.
"And thrid, our defense is predicated on the veterans playing, and playing off of each other."
Asked about Hanburger's absence, Johnson replied: "How many men did we have for that game? Fifty-two? That's 52 men who played badly."
Stu O'Dell, Hanburger's replacement at right linebacker, missed practice for the second straight day with a sprained right ankle. Allen said it was unlikely he would play against the Jets. Pete Wysocki, who normally backs up Brad Dusek on the left side, worked at right linebacker yesterday . . . Allen denied a published report out of New York that he was talking to the Jets about acquiring running back Ed Marinaro, a six-year veteran placed on waiveers Tuesday . . . Mike Thomas spent the practice session walking, jogging, ridfield and getting tretment from ing a bicycle on the track around the trainer Bubba Tyer. The star running back, who has practiced only five days this preseason, aggravated a hamstring injury Thursday . . . Social note: defensive end Dennis Johnson will celebrate the end of the exhibition season by getting married Saturday to Chris Yarney in Delaware.