On a day when the Washington Redskins held their final workout in pads before playing Dallas Monday night, wide receiver Alvin Garrett fired a Smurf-sized salvo at the Cowboys yesterday.

Specifically, Garrett was aiming at the Cowboys' wide receiver Butch Johnson, whose anti-Redskin quotations now fill the Redskin Park locker room.

"If Tom Landry lets Butch Johnson come into the end zone Monday night," Garrett said, "maybe we'll let him jump with us in the Fun Bunch.

"The Cowboys keep mouthing off.

"They keep making wisecracks about me being overweight and out of shape," said Garrett, who is 5-foot-7 and 185 pounds.

"Well, we'll see Monday night how out of shape I am."

And so the word-slinging saga continues.

Coach Joe Gibbs does not speak with such bravado.

He has been tense all week and, as the days have gone by, Gibbs has become less and less talkative with the press.

Two reporters asked several questions of Gibbs after yesterday's practice and, after he gave vague and distant answers, they walked away with empty notepads.

Obviously, Dallas approaches.

One Redskins position still open to some doubt is the left linebacker spot, where Monte Coleman and Mel Kaufman are engaged in a duel. Coleman suffered a thigh bruise last Saturday in the final preseason game against Buffalo.

Kaufman suffered a sprained right ankle in the same game. Neither injury is serious, team doctors say.

"We're really not sure still which way we'll go because of the injuries," said Larry Peccatiello, defensive coordinator, whose primary responsibility is the linebackers.

Kaufman, a third-year player, plays most competently against the run. Coleman, a fifth-year player, plays best against the pass.

At the end of last season, the two split playing time, each performing in the play situation he best defends.

"My ankle feels great. My neck feels fine," said Kaufman, who injured his neck on the first day of training camp and missed the next several weeks.

"I don't know what Pec (Peccatiello) has in mind.

"If I know I'm starting for sure, I'd feel better."

After saying that his thigh bruise was fine, Coleman did not want to discuss the Kaufman versus Coleman situation.

He said he no longer wants to talk to the press this season.

"Personal reasons," he said.

Might Coleman and Kaufman continue to split time at left linebacker this season?

"That could happen," Peccatiello said.

What does Gibbs say about the matter?

"It's up to Pec."

Obviously, Dallas approaches.