The Washington Commandos have given up 48, 73, 37 and 64 points in their four losses this season, but the team's defense shouldn't expect much help from Arena Football's rule-makers in the future.

The league isn't about to drop its strict restrictions on zone defenses, restrictions that have made life miserable for the Commandos (1-4), who finish their inaugural season tonight against league-leading Pittsburgh (4-1) at 7:30 at Capital Centre.

The Commandos have done their share of scoring as well, considering that they have lost three of those four games by a total of only six points.

"The man-to-man has been a problem for everybody in the league," says Commandos cornerback Nathan Creer. "You can play it hard, but sooner or later the guy is going to beat you."

Jim Foster, the Arena Football president and founder, says the league will never drop its rule requiring man-to-man coverage. And, says Commandos cornerback Frederick Motes, that wouldn't be a good idea anyway, because of the nature of the indoor game. "If you instituted a zone, it could be dangerous {for quarterbacks who would be under greater pressure}," he said. Added quarterback Rich Ingold, "It'd be ugly."

The players say restrictions on the defense are the primary cause of high scores. The linemen were further restricted earlier this season when a concern over injuries to quarterbacks prompted an agreement to stop fake blitzing.

Ingold and Motes agreed one key to a lower-scoring game lies in loosening rules on linemen. "It's got a lot to do with it," Motes said. "You can only cover for so long. Now, a guy can get in four or five moves sometimes."

Assistant coach Jim Williams, who works with Commandos defensive backs, said players and coaches may want some changes, but he is satisfied the new game will evolve as necessary. "I think if it {scoring} gets into the 100s, rules are going to be made to back it off," he said.

Foster said there might be several other changes over time that may give defensive linemen more opportunities to confuse the offense.

But wide receiver Lenny Taylor, who also has played in the defensive backfield for Washington, said the offensive outbursts might not be all bad. "Everyone wants to see an offensive game, regardless of how high the score is," he said. "Everyone wants to see the spikes, the big plays, the one-handed catch or whatever."

Washington is hoping Pittsburgh won't provide any of those big thrills tonight. The Gladiators lost last week, 32-31, to Denver, but have dominated the league.

The Gladiators are led by Russell Hairston, a receiver/defensive back from Lanham and Eleanor Roosevelt High School, who leads the league in interceptions, scoring and receiving yardage. He has 55 receptions for 955 yards in five games. Washington's leading receiver, Dwayne Dixon, who also will start at safety, has 61 catches and 729 yards.