Rookie Coach Ron Erhardt of the New England Patriots agonized on a national telecast about the trade of offensive tackle Leon Gray to the Houston Oilers after General Manager Frank (Bucko) Kilroy defended the deal on the same medium.

Some of the heat was taken off the Patriots after the Pittsburgh Steelers' John Banaszak, playing opposite Gray Sunday, had two sacks, an interception and made four tackles as the Steelers buried the Oilers, 38-7.

Coach Chuck Knox of the Buffalo Bills, who was fired by the Los Angeles Rams because of a "dull" offense, is having a chuckle. The Bills have scored 58 points in their first two games: the Rams, "led by Jack Reynolds' running," as one wag referred to the linebacker's touchdown after a fumble recovery against Denver, have 30.

The coaching mentality: Dick Vermeil slept in his stadium office Monday night after his Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Atlanta Falcons.

Two of Joe Kuharich's former Redskin players, quarterback Eddie LeBaron and defensive end Tom Braatz, were startled by the physical change in their coach of more than two decades ago when they met him at the Eagles-Falcons game. Kuharich is nearly four inches shorter, he says, as the result of an accident on a scouting trip for the Eagles last year.

Kuharich fell in the Green Bay stadium and suffered a compression fracture of the fifth vertebra and, he says, the fourth and sixth were fused together. He spent 97 days in bed and lost 40 pounds, but is back up to 192 and upbeat in attitude.

"I used to be 5-foot-11 and three-eights inches," he says. "Now I am only 5-foot-7 and three-quarters and can look LeBaron right in the eye."

Dick Bass, the onetime Ram fullback, tells a story about when George Allen coached them the first time and used to carry maybe a score of players above the roster limit. All were assigned make-believe tasks around the training site and if a suspected National Football League representative was sighted, a prearranged signal was sounded.

Then the cab squadders would spring into groundskeeping action, manning equipment, turning on hoses and the like, until the visitor left.

H & H Predictions, the tipsheet, may be furnishing Coach Ray Perkins with an incentive by picking the Redskins to beat his Giants Monday night by 33-10 and commenting, "The Giants' interest often seems sporadic and completely unemotional. Their (lack of) scoring reflects their erratic concentration. The Giants are in for a very long, discouraging season."

A commentary on coaches calling the plays: Quarterback David Whitehurst says that after taking a lick from the New Orleans Saints, "I couldn't see the numbers when they signaled the plays from the sidelines.

"The play Eric Torkelson scored on was not the play they called; I missed it. They called an off-tackle play with Barty Smith carrying and I called Eric on the sweep."