Diron Talbert, the Redskin player who hated Dallas the most, now is in Texas running his small business empire.

Jack Pardee, the coach who once said he disliked the Cowboys more than any other team anywhere, is in San Diego, directing the Charger defense.

And George Allen, the man who started this Redskins-Cowboys mania, remains in his home high above the Southern California surf, probably still thinking about Tom Landry, Roger Staubach and those wonderful games of the 1970s.

But this is 1981, and the new Redskin coach, Joe Gibbs, isn't about to karate-chop a slab of wood to show his players how he feels about the Cowboys, as Allen once did.

But Gibbs is curious to find out just what Dallas week and playing the Cowboys is all about.

"I've heard so much about it," he said. "But it's new to me, so I don't know how it should feel."

It also is new to almost half his players. Twenty-two of the 45 have never been in RFK Stadium before to hear the crowd boo uproariously as the Cowboys take the field. It's hard to hate a team before you've played it at least once.

"I wasn't a Redskin fan until the draft," said rookie guard Russ Grimm. "I rooted for Pittsburgh. I knew about Dallas and Washington, but it didn't mean that much to me. I'm learning about it this week, from the older players."

But there aren't that many older players left from the Allen era: only Dave Butz, Mark Murphy, George Starke, Joe Lavender, Mark Moseley, Joe Theismann, John Riggins, Perry Brooks, Clarence Harmon and Karl Lorch on the active roster. That's not the same as when almost everyone on the squad had been bathed in anti-Cowboy propaganda.

"We're a team still searching for an identity," Murphy said, "so it's tough to view Dallas the same way the old teams did. It's just not the same.

"This game Sunday is special because it's the season opener as much as anything else. Jack (Pardee) kept it going with Dallas for a while, but you could see the drop-off the second time we played them last year.

"Why? Because that game was meaningless. Before, there was always something at stake for both teams. When I was a rookie, you could feel what it meant among the veterans, the equipment people, the trainers, the writers, everybody. That's not there right now."

The last few seasons, Dallas has remained on top, a playoff threat, its coach becoming a legend. Washington hasn't been in the playoffs since 1976, it has had three coaches in four years, and it has beaten its Texas rival only twice in the last eight meetings.

Unlike in past years, there will be no special pep rallies held here for this game, no extraordinary national press coverage, no high tension engulfing the city. Now Dallas looks more toward Philadelphia as a threat to a Super Bowl trip. Washington has become another kid on the block, trying to make a name for itself like everyone else.

"We know if we want people to respect us, we need to win this game," Grimm said. "How else do you catch people's attention but by beating the big-name teams?"

Wilbur Young knows all about NFL rivalries. He has spent his pro career learning to dislike Oakland, first as a Kansas City Chief, then as a San Diego Charger. Now he is trying to focus on Cowboys. For a veteran, it's easier to transfer emotions.

"I know exactly what it means to this team," he said. "The names may change, but the feeling is the same. You want to kill them. This is our first game and I hear they already are talking about us like a dog. It's up to us to prove they are wrong. I'm ready for it."

When Terry Metcalf was a St. Louis Cardinal, he had a special feeling about Dallas. But he had the same rumblings toward Allen and his Redskins. This week he's reacquainted himself with old passions.

"I know I've never liked Dallas because they are supposed to be 'America's team,' the good guys and all that," he said. "In reality, they aren't better than we are. But it's when you look upon them as superheroes that you get in trouble.

"There is some talk about Dallas in the locker room and on the field, but not much. That's good. You have to maintain a proper level of play and not get so worked up it interferes with your performance."

"You can sense something about this week," said rookie Tom Flick. "We all can feel it, and the opener has something to do with it. I've been involved in rivalries before, in college when I was at Washington and we played USC. But what is different here is that the whole city goes so wild about Dallas.

"I don't know if the coaches want us to sense that much emotion. I think they want steady improvement. Sometimes you can get too excited."

That's what happened last season. The Redskins got so uptight about opening against the Cowboys that they wound up emotionally drained. When they lost, as Moseley put it yesterday, "It took something out of the rest of the season.

"This is a less do-or-die approach. It's more low-key this week. That's good. The game is fun, but you don't want to make it the end of the world."

But don't tell George Allen that.

Grimm went through a full workout yesterday and his ailing ankle held up well . . . Lemar Parrish is limiting his work this week while resting his sore thigh . . . Young took a blow on his bad shoulder but said afterward he should be all right Sunday . . . Metcalf will return punts and kickoffs Sunday, although Mike Nelms still wants to test his broken thumb in practice this week . . . With only five defensive backs taking full turns, they were extremely tired by the end of practice.