SOUTH BEND, IND., JAN. 5 -- On his way to a film session today, Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Ed Hughes said the Washington Redskins' defense is "getting a little bit old."

If so, not in the secondary, where Darrell Green, Barry Wilburn, Todd Bowles and Alvin Walton average 24.5 years. Hughes had to be referring to the defensive line and linebacking corps, where the average age is just under 30.

In fact, someone pointed out that the Redskins rank only 10th in pass defense, and Hughes explained: "That's probably because the linemen don't put on as much pressure as they used to."

Defensive ends Dexter Manley and Charles Mann have had decent seasons, combining for 18 1/3 sacks. Mann -- at 26, the youngest defensive line starter -- is off to the Pro Bowl, not only because he rushed the passer, but because he's also stuffed the run. Manley hasn't done too badly, either.

Dave Butz, at 37, is obviously nearing the end of his career, but he's had three sacks this year, including a game-saver against the New York Jets. Darryl Grant is the same age as Manley (28), and he's had 1 1/3 sacks.

Of course, both Butz and Grant come out of the game in passing situations, replaced by Steve Hamilton (26) and Markus Koch (24), who have combined for three sacks.

In last year's 27-13 playoff victory over the Bears, the Redskins sacked quarterback Doug Flutie only once, but that's because Flutie has those fast feet. Flutie was also able to connect with wide receiver Willie Gault on a 50-yard stop-and-go touchdown pattern, beating Green.

Green later intercepted a pass in that game, but Hughes says, "I think Darrell will be a little scared of Willie," when the Redskins and Bears play again Sunday at Soldier Field in an NFC semifinal.

The Redskins use mostly man-to-man pass coverages, and Hughes expects Green to be on Gault.

"Darrell Green will probably shadow Gault wherever he goes," Hughes said, "and it'll wind up being a 10-man game. I think Darrell will be a little scared of Willie. {But Green} deserves to go to the Pro Bowl. The Redskins put a lot of pressure on him week in, week out. He has to cover the best receiver. He has to go from the left side to the right side to inside and also follow people out of the backfield. It takes quite an athlete to do that."

On the other hand, Vince Tobin -- the Bears' defensive coordinator -- says his secondary plays zone only 25 to 30 percent of the time.

Apparently, defensive tackle William (The Refrigerator) Perry won't play much, other than on some short-yardage situations. Dan Hampton has moved from end to replace him.

Perry now weighs more than 350 pounds, the heaviest he's been as a pro. He masqueraded as a fullback in goal-line situations in 1985 and 1986, but has fumbled a couple times this year and may be through playing skilled positions. Instead, the Bears primarily have used Neal Anderson in the backfield with Walter Payton this season, though Anderson has been ruled out of Sunday's game with a knee injury.

The Bears will practice indoors in South Bend, Ind., until Friday morning. Today's wind-chill factor in Chicago made it minus-44 degrees.