At Redskin Park yesterday, where defensive end Dexter Manley did not cross the picket line, the victorious Washington Redskins coaching and scouting staffs began to seriously consider the prospect of keeping some of their replacement players when the NFL strike ends.

In the wake of the Redskins' 28-21 win over St. Louis, several players, in particular wide receiver Anthony Allen, have increased their chances of making the Washington squad if roster sizes are increased to 49 or 52 players, as expected, team officials said.

But those officials said decisions may not be made for awhile because the issue is a very sensitive one with striking players. Several Redskins have said they do not want to play with players who crossed their picket line, while the team must decide about the availability of injured reserve players and when to activate them.

The nonunion players practiced yesterday at Redskin Park and are getting ready to play the New York Giants Sunday at 4 p.m. at Giants Stadium. Coach Joe Gibbs said he is preparing to play the game with his replacement players, pending word from the player representatives and owners. Veterans have until Wednesday at noon to report or they cannot play this coming weekend, the league announced yesterday.

Gibbs would not say which team he would rather play with against the Giants -- his replacement team or his regular players. If the regular players do return, Gibbs said they could be ready to play after a "couple hours {of} walk-through {practice}."

The striking Redskins said they have been practicing, but their schedule has been rather loose. The quarterbacks, receivers, running backs, linebackers and defensive backs have held seven-on-seven drills several times a week, a couple players said. The linemen have run on their own. There has been no contact because they don't have equipment.

"We might be off just a little bit if we had to play this week, but we would be in better shape than those guys who played yesterday," said linebacker Mel Kaufman.

One player from each position has been designated to stay in touch with his position coach on a weekly basis, the players said. The last time there was a strike, in 1982, the Redskins won the Super Bowl. One of the reasons, they said then, was their ability to practice together as a team through the 57-day strike.

If the striking Redskins did play this weekend, it's possible quarterback Jay Schroeder could return after spraining his right shoulder in Week 1. "My understanding is he's doing awful good and he's about ready," Gibbs said.

Conjecture was rampant at Redskin Park yesterday. One team source said that recently released players who crossed the picket line may have more of a chance of making a team after the strike than those unemployed players who chose not to cross.

For example, of the 11 players released by the Redskins before the first game last month, only H-back Craig McEwen and wide receiver Ted Wilson returned to the nonunion team. Rookies such as defensive end Ted Chapman, linebacker Steve Nave and free safety Steve Gage chose not to cross the picket line, but still hope they are in the Redskins' plans.

They won the respect of the striking players by not replacing them, but the source said they may not have made wise career decisions. Those players who did return are getting much-needed playing time to impress the coaches, although they have been denounced by the striking players. But another source said what the striking players say does not carry as much weight as what the game films show.

Meanwhile, Gibbs reiterated his position that he will delay making a decision about keeping nonunion players, but said he "definitely" thinks replacement players who do well will get "their shot to hook on with somebody.

"Anytime you throw another 110 players in there {with increased roster sizes around the league}, then I think the guys that had their day, the guys who look good on film and who people speak highly of, I definitely think it's going to be their shot to hook on with somebody," Gibbs said.

Players such as Allen, who caught three touchdown passes and broke the team record for receiving yards in a game with 255, quarterback Ed Rubbert, who threw for 334 yards, and punt returner Derrick Shepard, who had a 73-yard return, could benefit from increased roster sizes. Assistant general manager Charlie Casserly said the Redskins have "a dozen guys" on their replacement roster who "deserve to be on NFL rosters."

"I think that's something I'll confront down the road when I make up my mind how many of these guys I feel will be qualified," Gibbs said. "And, when I have a chance to evaluate when we get our other players back in, the feelings and everything, I think I'll cross that bridge somewhere down the road."

Dallas Coach Tom Landry and Chicago Coach Mike Ditka both have said they are thinking of keeping some of their nonunion players. But, because the Redskins have so many players on injured reserve, they might not have any space left on their expanded roster once they activate players such as tight end Clint Didier, tackle Mark May and running back George Rogers, to name a few.

The striking Redskins remained solid yesterday when Manley, saying he "wants to show solidarity with my teammates," decided to stay on strike.

Manley became the first Redskin to publicly question the players' strike last week when he said on WWDC-FM radio that he would make a decision Monday about crossing the picket line.

But yesterday, after speaking with his agent, Bob Woolf, and player representative Neal Olkewicz, he said on the radio station he was "definitely not" going to defy his teammates and go to work.

"For the team, it's better that I stay out," Manley said, adding that financial concerns were not the reason he thought about returning to play.

Manley, who makes in excess of $400,000 a year, has lost more than $50,000 by missing two of the 16 scheduled games due to the strike. Manley's contract also is top-heavy with incentives for statistics like sacks and tackles and for postseason honors, all of which are being affected by the strike.

At least one Redskin said his frustration is directed toward those players who have crossed the picket line and returned to play, and those fans who have paid to watch them.

"I'm disgusted with our so-called union," said guard R.C. Thielemann. "Things are just falling apart with guys going in, and, with the fan reaction, it seems to be disintegrating in front of our eyes. I guess all the fans who went into the game look for is the jersey. They don't look at the person inside the jersey."

Redskins Notes:

Shepard spent last night in Arlington Hospital for observation of his bruised ribs. Defensive end Alec Gibson also has bruised ribs and might be the most severely injured Redskin, Gibbs said.