SAN DIEGO, JAN. 26 -- In two days here, Washington Redskins' defensive end Dexter Manley has been asked approximately 127 questions about Denver quarterback John Elway and hasn't given the same answer twice.

Q: What would you say to John Elway right now, Dexter?

A: "Hello."

Q: Dexter, you gonna get to Elway and be MVP?

A: "I'll be there Sunday; you'll be there Sunday. You'll see who comes away with the MVP."

Q: What happens if Elway eludes you, Dexter?

A: "If we don't get to Elway, we'll lose. You can take it to the bank and cash it."

Q: Regarding Elway, what's your dream for Sunday's game, Dexter?

A: "My dream is to come down the corner, catch the quarterback throwing the ball, hit him from behind in between his two numbers and cut his lights out."

Q: But Elway wears only a one-digit number, Dexter.

A: "Oh."

Q: Sorry if this has been asked before, Dexter, but what if you don't get Elway?

A: "You're right, I've been asked that. But if we don't, we could be sucking raw eggs."

Manley has heard so much about Elway, he's already calling him, "John." And Manley has heard so much about Sunday's Super Bowl game, he's also on a first-name basis with the stadium. "Yeah," he says, "we're going to beat the Broncos in Jack Stadium." Just for the record, it's Jack Murphy Stadium.

So, it's safe to say the media is making this a confrontation between Elway and the Redskins, and Manley tends to agree, although not all of his coaches and teammates do.

Defensive coach Larry Peccatiello warns that there are 10 other Broncos in the offensive huddle. Then linebacker Neal Olkewicz admits he may not be able to name them all.

"I'd try, but I don't want to slight anybody," Olkewicz said today.

The Redskins aren't the first to be preoccupied by Elway, considering the New York Giants tried eating, sleeping and breathing Elway before last year's Super Bowl, which they won. Manley, meanwhile, says the Redskins are running extra "gassers" in practice to simulate this coming Sunday's great chase.

"It'd be nice if we could borrow Randall Cunningham for practice," Manley said.

Manley and fellow defensive end Charles Mann agree Philadephia's Cunningham is the NFL's best scrambling quarterback, although they rank Elway No. 2. "The thing about Elway, though, is if he sets up, he can probably throw it at least 200 yards," Manley said.

Naturally, everyone has a theory how to stop him, though theory and reality are two different things.

Peccatiello liked what the Redskins did last week against Minnesota's Wade Wilson, although Redskins players think Wilson's 1100th the scrambler that Elway is. Against the Vikings, the defensive coaches employed a quicker lineup a lot of the time, including linebackers Ravin Caldwell and Kurt Gouveia, and safety Clarence Vaughn.

Those three will play again, said Peccatiello, who also warned there could be more gimmick defenses added for the Broncos. "We'll let it all hang out on defense," he said.

They could use the "spy" defense, which the Giants tried in a regular-season victory over the Broncos last season. Linebacker Lawrence Taylor mirror-boxed Elway all game and did a decent job, although Elway still scrambled around a lot. The Redskins could try this with Olkewicz, but Giants middle linebacker Harry Carson laughed and said: "Lawrence has a little more speed {than Olkewicz}."

In the Giants-Broncos Super Bowl last year, though, the Giants abandoned the "spy" tactics, and they did a better job on Elway, which just goes to show that he's human.

Another point the Redskins are stressing is staying in their pass rushing lanes, though that's much easier said than done. Peccatiello thinks one of Manley's and Mann's strengths is the wild, all-out rush, which might take them way outside or way inside. If they go inside, Elway can scramble outside. And if they go outside, Elway can step up the middle. Of course, if he steps up the middle, then it's up to defensive tackles to get him, and Darryl Grant and Dave Butz aren't exactly built for speed.

Still, Peccatiello doesn't want Mann and Manley to go full speed and then stop and think, "Oops, I'm out of my lane." So, he concedes, "Elway will get us sometimes."

Another way to stop him is to have eyes in the back of your head. The Redskins tend to play a lot of man-to-man defense, which is dangerous if Elway turns it upfield. While Redskins defensive backs might be watching the Denver receivers with their backs to Elway, he could be creeping along upfield. So it's up to the Redskins' defensive backs to twist their heads around once in a while.

Besides throwing a decent pass, Elway also hands off pretty well. In other words, he'll get back in that shotgun and slip it to running backs Sammy Winder or Gene Lang.

"We do so much shotgun that I'm in a run {three-point} stance only about 30 percent of the time," said Denver tackle Dave Studdard, the guy who must block Manley. "So, we surprise folks out of the shotgun. They see me in an up stance, and they think, 'Well, they're running the ball,' and we come 15 yards up the field."

So, the Redskins can't go with an all-out pass rush. Manley, who has constantly been told by Coach Joe Gibbs to watch what he says, hasn't given Studdard any bulletin board material at all. "Dave is the best tackle," Manley said. "Better than {Minnesota's All-Pro} Gary Zimmerman."

Studdard -- wide-eyed -- responded: "Zimmerman's a damn good tackle. I don't know if {Manley} is trying to set me up for something or not. But I'll take it as a compliment."

Of course, if Manley's been asked 127 questions about Elway, Elway's heard a few about Manley.

Q: What do you think of Dexter, John?

A: "I think he's a great player."

Q: John, what do you think about teams trying to play you with a "spy?"

A: "Oh, we've seen that a lot."

Q: Are you going to be scrambling a lot Sunday?

A: "I don't go into any football game planning on scrambling. I like to stay in the pocket. If I have to scramble, I have to scramble."

Never before, it seems, has one player been so much of a focal point.

"Yeah," said Olkewicz of Elway. "Maybe since Jim Brown. Or Johnny Unitas."

Manley's been talking more about Elway than himself.

Q: Dexter, can you slow Elway down with one hit?

A: "One hit might not slow him down, but it might put him out -- if I get that one hit."

Q: Dexter, you're sweating.

A: "I'm getting nervous."

Q: About Number 7?

A: "Who? Oh, Boomer Esiason. He wears number 7."

Q: Dexter, you sick of talking about Elway, hearing his name all day?

A: "No. It's like hearing Ronald Reagan's name every day. You get used to it."