The Washington Redskins are "a little bit looser" going into this year's NFC championship game than they were going into last year's game, defensive end Charles Mann said yesterday.

"Going against the New York Giants for a third time last year, we were very tense and emotionally tight," Mann said. "No one wants to lose to a team three times in one season. This time, we're going to play loose, we're not all uptight about it."

But being less nervous does not mean the Redskins are more talkative. With few exceptions, the Redskins have left scores of reporters scratching their heads trying to figure out who to interview. Very few players are talking. Even defensive end Dexter Manley, briefly back from a self-imposed media silence, has clammed up again.

"The Redskins are always quiet," Mann said. "Maybe a couple of guys will be talking. Other than that, mum's the word. We like to do our talking on the field. Come into the locker room after a game, we'll talk then," Mann said.

Burns Happy on Road

The Redskins think playing at RFK Stadium is a big help, but Minnesota Coach Jerry Burns rather likes being on the road for a third straight playoff game.

"Sometimes playing on the road bands your team together in a tighter unity," Burns said upon his arrival in Washington. "I don't think home field is a particular advantage in pro football."

"I think what they have now is a lot of confidence," Mann said of the Vikings. "They don't have anything to lose. They're playing like it's a scrimmage game and we have it all to lose."

Just don't ask Burns what's gotten into his team in the playoffs.

"There's a lot of things that have happened in the playoffs so far that I can't explain," he said. "We're just happy they invited us to the party."

Bugel Going to Packers?

Washington assistant head coach/offense Joe Bugel's name has come up in connection with the Green Bay Packers' vacant head coaching job.

Bugel was quoted by the Associated Press as saying he would "most definitely" be interested in the job that opened when Forrest Gregg resigned to take over at Southern Methodist University.

"We've got a continuity here with our coaches," Gibbs said. "It's really an advantage. But if we have to lose one, that's the way we want to lose one."