If two heads are better than one, the Washington Redskins special teams will return to normalcy today.

The Redskins currently have more special teams coaches than any other team in the league. In the aftermath of a 95-yard kickoff return, a blocked punt and a shanked extra point against the Los Angeles Rams Monday night, Coach Joe Gibbs telephoned an old friend -- Paul Lanham -- and asked if he could spare a day or two or 20.

Lanham, who coached the Redskins special teams for five seasons under George Allen, agreed to come as "an extra set of eyes," for special teams coach Chuck Banker. Yet, for the past five days, he's clearly been an extra voice, too.

So concerned is Gibbs that he now begins and ends practice with lengthy special teams sessions. Usually, Gibbs does all his talking with his beloved offense, but he's actually been seen chatting these last few days with the special teams members. After every practice, he, Banker and Lanham walk off the field side-by-side, using such terms as "stay in lane" and "contain."

Gibbs is cautious: "We've spent a lot of extra time on the practice field, plus a lot of hard work, film work. We've had a long, hard week on {special} teams, and we'll just have to see what the results are."

If the results today are bad, some expect Lanham to be around a while. Naturally, this could crimp Banker's style, since there has never before been a team with two permanent special teams coaches. Apparently, that was something George Allen -- Mr. Special Teams himself -- used to dream about, but never brought to fruition.

Gibbs, however, isn't thinking that far ahead. He said he called in Lanham only as a friend (they once coached together at the University of Arkansas), and Banker has been made completely aware of this.

"How long will Paul stay? It's just between me and him, and how much time he feels he can spend," Gibbs said.

Lanham, who got out of coaching recently so he could see his son play college football at the University of Delaware, apparently has a lot of time on his hands, so this could be a match made in heaven.

Though, Lanham insists: "I'm not after anyone's job."

The bravest soul has been Banker, who coached the St. Louis Cardinals' special teams under Jim Hanifan. If Banker had one problem, it was his philosophy on zone blocking. On punts, for example, Redskins blockers played a zone, somewhat similar to the way a basketball team would. Under former special teams coach Wayne Sevier, they employed man-on-man blocking, and many Redskins have complained that man blocking is easier.

"I think with zone protecting, we were having trouble with it," says special teams member Dean Hamel. "I think we're going with more man-to-man {for the Giants game}, and it makes it a little easier. It puts less pressure on us."

To Banker's credit, he has accepted change and accepted Lanham.

"The way {Gibbs} explained it to me, {Lanham} is here as a friend," Banker says. "The way he explained it to me, I have no problems with it. I'm a professional.

"Yes, for me, it's been a different week. {But} the bottom line is winning. Egos are frail, but mine is salved by winning."

Asked if he thought his job was in jeopardy -- although Gibbs has not hinted to that effect -- Banker said, "I don't feel that it is. But I don't want a vote of confidence, either. You know how that goes."

To the average viewer, what the Redskins have done to their special teams is subtle. Lanham -- who has concerned himself mostly with kickoff coverage and punt protection -- spent most of his time preaching philosophy and technique. After watching films, he blamed the 95-yard kickoff return by the Rams' Ron Brown on mental mistakes. He says "a couple guys" went out of their lanes, so he begged the players to stay in them from now on.

He blamed the blocked punt on a player getting "overextended." In layman's terms, somebody forgot to block the Rams' Nolan Cromwell, who snuck up the middle and suffocated punter Steve Cox.

The nonsubtle changes are that David Jones, signed solely as a snapper, will be the center on all place kicks and punts, and punter Steve Cox and kicker Ali Haji-Sheikh will "share" kickoff duties, Gibbs said yesterday. Gibbs also came close to activating running back Tim Jessie as a kickoff returner, but the injuries to quarterback Doug Williams and guard R.C. Thielemann meant the Redskins had to activate an extra quarterback and lineman, instead.

Otherwise, the personnel will stay the same on kickoff coverage, as well as punt protection.

"It's worked fine this week," Lanham says. "When covering kicks, you've got five guys on one side and five on the other. Well, {during practice} I watch one side and Chuck watches the other. If a guy gets out of his lane on my side, I can correct him. Whereas if Chuck was alone and had to look at 10 guys, he might miss it."

According to players, Banker has continued to do most of the talking during meetings.

"{Lanham} hasn't really talked to me, and I haven't heard him talk much in meetings," says Hamel. "I think Banker's still in charge, and I think he's doing a great job. I know he wants us to do as well as anybody else."

Hamel, by the way, leads the special teams with 10 total hits (includes wedge busts, tackles and assists on kickoffs and punts). Vernon Dean, Dennis Woodberry and Kurt Gouveia each have nine.

"I think we'll play a great special teams game," Gouveia said. "We've worked hard enough on it, that's for sure."