Richie Petitbon, the Washington Redskins' assistant head coach-defense, said today he believes the defense's rookies and free agents are "the best new group" in the eight seasons he has been coaching here.

"We've got some real tough kids that like to hit, especially in the secondary," Petitbon said after watching films of the team's scrimmage with New England Saturday. "They've really got a shot to make the club."

Cornerback Barry Wilburn, the team's eighth-round draft choice from Mississippi, continued to draw raves for a couple of his jarring hits against the Patriots' rookies.

It's no coincidence that when third-year cornerback Darrell Green arrived to work in the weight room, he made sure to shake Wilburn's hand.

"You got my job squired away?" Green said to him, laughing.

Wilburn smiled. "It all starts over (Monday)," he said later. "I can't rest on anything."

Petitbon also said he was pleased with the signal-calling of free safety Raphel Cherry.

On offense, free agent running back Vincent Hall, who scored two touchdowns Saturday, may be for real. The Redskins love his speed (4.5 in the 40) and have been happy with his progress in blocking, considering he did very little of that while rushing for nearly 2,000 yards last season at Middle Tennessee.

"The moves he made on his (35-yard) touchdown run looked even better on film than they did at the time," said Joe Bugel, assistant head coach-offense.

Meanwhile, quarterbacks Jay Schroeder and Babe Laufenberg officially remain even, Bugel said.

The team of Pete Cronan, Greg Williams, Rich Milot and Todd Liebenstein won a best-ball golf outing over two three-man teams in an impromptu "Redskin Open" this afternoon at a local golf course. Said Cronan: "It's a good indication of things to come. I think this means we're going to the Super Bowl."

Linebacker Darnell Dailey, a free agent from Maryland, suffered a severe neck sprain in the scrimmage, head trainer Bubba Tyer said. He was to undergo precautionary tests from a radiologist tonight.