Mark May, who lost his starting right guard spot to Fred Dean three weeks ago, will start against the Dallas Cowboys Saturday in the NFC championship game.

"He did a good job the first game against Dallas against both (John) Dutton and (Don) Smerek," said Joe Bugel, the Redskins' offensive line coach. "He deserves a shot at them."

Bugel said Dean has played well since he started "and it's not a demotion for him. I feel Mark knows the Dallas guys better.

"Besides, Mark saw a film clip where Harvey Martin said he wished Mark May was playing, because he'd like a little piece of him."

Bugel moved May (6 feet 5, 288 pounds) from tackle to guard this season because of the matchup against Dutton (6-7, 275), just as he matched guard Russ Grimm against Dallas' other defensive tackle, all-pro Randy White.

Dutton, however, has been hurt and has not played in two weeks. If he can't play Saturday, he will be replaced by Smerek (6-7, 265), a second-year man from Nevada-Reno.

Until Dean moved ahead of him the final game of the regular season, May had been starting since the opening day of training camp. He started part of his rookie year last year at left tackle.

Bugel said he wants Dean available Saturday in case Grimm aggravates the torn ligaments in his thumb. Grimm hasn't worked on pass protection this week, but will start Saturday.

Dan Henning, the Redskins' assistant head coach, is being prominently mentioned for at least two vacant NFL head coaching jobs, in Atlanta and Kansas City. But he and General Manager Bobby Beathard said that no team has formally contacted the Redskins about talking to Henning.

"I'm having no trouble concentrating on these playoff games," Henning said. "I don't worry about those things. There are two remaining games that I'm very interested in winning . . . I've worked for the two AFC teams left and I'd rather go to Pasadena and play them than watch on television."

Henning, 40, like his boss Joe Gibbs, is an offensive specialist.

Defensive end Dexter Manley and tackle Joe Jacoby, who were held out of practice Tuesday to rest injuries, took a full work load yesterday . . . Gibbs on Tom Landry's complaint that the Cowboys have one less day to prepare for this game: "He's right in his statement, but it's something that happens to you and you have to make the best of it you can. We did" . . . Wayne Sevier, special teams coach, wore shorts to practice. "What cold?" he asked with a big smile . . . Gibbs said at halftime of the Minnesota game last week that he had reminded the players they were two quarters away from a $16,000 payday this Saturday. The Redskins quickly told him the NFC title game is worth $18,000.