Washington Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs said it's all part of a normal week of work. But yesterday looked a bit different at Redskin Park as Gibbs had three staffers patrolling the complex's fences while his team practiced.

Gibbs laughed off the beefed-up security, saying it was not because the New York Giants are on the schedule.

"I told them to keep an eye on you guys {reporters}," Gibbs said. "This is just the normal routine around here."

Gibbs had the Redskins back at work after giving them the weekend off. They typically don't have contact drills on Monday after a Sunday game, but since they didn't play last week, they began their work two days earlier.

They'll have their regular day off today, then return to normal preparations on Wednesday.

Asked how he thought the bye might affect his team, he said: "I don't know. I'll know when I see how we play. People will judge us by that." Brown Down, Again

Offensive tackle Ray Brown returned to the practice field after a five-week absence yesterday, but limped off late in the day with a turf toe.

That's the latest in a series of frustrations for Brown, whose strained right knee may require surgery. He is scheduled to have the knee checked again on Wednesday. He was cleared to practice only about an hour before the Redskins went on the field.

With only five extra players allowed to practice, Brown's return means that rookie offensive lineman Mo Elewonibi has returned to the sideline for a while. The other extras are wide receiver Stephen Hobbs, quarterback Jeff Rutledge and developmental squad members George Searcy and Rico Labbe.

Barring an injury, only Rutledge will be activated for Sunday's game.

Brown has spent the past five weeks doing strengthening work and taking therapy on the knee, but when injured reserve players were cleared to practice last week, Brown couldn't join them.

He joined the Redskins as a Plan B signee in 1989, and until hurting his knee last year looked as if he might flourish in his new system. He also found the Redskins' conditioning program to his liking, gaining 20 pounds.

"It has been disappointing," he said. "It's no fun not being able to practice or be part of things. The thing is, I think I've got a heck of a lot better since I've been here. I'm a better football player than I was with the Cardinals, but I haven't been able to use it. When you're not able to get out there and work, you're going to regress a little more, no matter how much you work out on your own." Clock the Giants

The Giants have kept the ball an average of almost 36 minutes per game, easily the best in the league. . . . The Redskins have outscored opponents by 64-18 in the second half this season and by 166-28 in the second half of their last 11 games. . . . Wide receiver Gary Clark has had the two biggest days of his career against the Giants. He caught 11 passes for 241 yards in 1986 and 11 for 193 in 1985. . . . Gerald Riggs is averaging 4.5 yards per carry, best among the top 10 NFC rushers. . . . When wide receiver Ricky Sanders didn't catch a pass against the Cardinals last week, it was the first time he was shutout since Week 8 of the 1987 season.