A smallish, highly mobile quarter-back worked most of the time with the No. 1 unit yesterday at Redskin Park. He appeared to be wearing No. 7. Joe Theismann's number, but it was hard to be sure in the misting rain. It also might have been 79 (Ron McDole) or No. 17.

A Missouri license tag was spotted in the area and a call was placed to St. Louis, for Joe Sullivan chief of operations for the Cardinals, who play here Sunday.

"I knew it," Sullivan said when told about No. 17. "They're thinking about starting Harry Theofiledes (circa 1968), are they? Well, we're still preparing for it to be Sonny Jurgensen."

Despite the Cardinals having a 3-8 record, Sullivan pointed out, "You know a Jack Pardee-coached team has never beaten a Bud Wilkenson-coached team twice."

Theismann would not comment after practice, except to remark. "We're going to feature a Greek salad for brunch on Sunday at my restaurant - the 'Harry Theofiledes Special'."

Billy Kilmer disclosed that he has been faking a shoulder separation on his throwing side for years, to lull the opposition into thinking he cannot throw a perfect spiral.

Defensive tackle Diron Talbert was asked if the use of Theofiledes in practice was a ruse to get him him ready to chase Roger Staubach of the Dallas Cowboys next week.

"Listen, once Staubach takes off with the ball, he becomes a running back and loses his immunity," Talbert said. "I don't want to hear any crybaby talk if he gets hurt."

Pardee was asked what effect the rumor about Theofiledes would have on the morale of No. 3 quarterback Kim McQuilken. "We may have two No. 3 quarterbacks, "pardee explained," McQuilken and Theofiledes."

Glenn Brenner reported he had it on good authority that Theofiledes would start.

He said he got it from a fellow sportscaster who drinks at the same bar as Billy Martin.

"This Theofiledes can fly." Brenner said. "He runs like his shirttail is on fire."

It was also learned how Santa Claus is going to make his entrance into RFK Stadium for the last home game, against Chicago on Saturday, Dec. 16.

One of the three NFL cheerleaders who were fired for posing in Playboy magazine will "streak" onto the field and then put on a Santa Claus costume, in slow motion.

Pardee confirmed that it was Theismann who got most of the time with the No. 1 unit, but insisted that was not particularty significant "because we always split the time between our quarterbacks."

He offered reassurance to the Cardinals that he will not spring the single-wing on them, and said that Reggie Haynes probably will start at tight end instead of injured Jean Fugett. Pardee remarked that Haynes ran every tight-end pattern yesterday.

Running back Mike Thomas practiced. John Riggins worked out on his own and may drill with his unit today as will defensive end Ron McDole, who hurt his hip in Wednesday's workout.

Surprisingly, Pardee said he has received more mail about the Redskins' cheerleaders than he has about the quarterback controversy. He reported that the mail has come from all over the country and backed him by about a 99-to-1 ratio in his view that scanty costumes were "disfracting."

The letters ranged in topic from wishing him well to one from a youngster writing "I hope you beat Dallas and win the Super Bowl," pardee liked that sentiment.