Markus Koch surprised the Washington Redskins by taking part in some of yesterday's practice, despite a sprained right knee.

He's still questionable for Sunday's game against the New York Giants, but his progress has been far faster than the Redskins might have guessed.

"He's still sore," Coach Joe Gibbs said. "He's {in uniform} and optimistic about the weekend. He has a better feel for it than I do. We'll see how he works" today and Friday.

Koch's fast recovery probably means that even if he misses Sunday's game, he won't be placed on injured reserve. That, in turn, may mean another idle week for Jumpy Geathers, who is eligible to return from the "physically unable to perform" list.

It also means the defensive line -- the area that had the Redskins so worried in training camp -- is now one of their deepest spots. The front four of Koch, Charles Mann, Tracy Rocker and Darryl Grant is playing so well that Fred Stokes was relegated to passing downs until Koch was hurt in the first half Sunday.

The new two additions -- Eric Williams, who'd been a starter in Detroit, and Tim Johnson, who'd been a starter in Pittsburgh, have also played only passing downs.

"Eric and Tim have really added depth," Gibbs said. "We were dangerously thin when we made those deals. They've both been starters and it was not like we were guessing at somebody when we got them. Both are starting to feel comfortable with where they are and both made their presence felt."

They all played Sunday against Randall Cunningham and the Philadelphia Eagles because "we wanted to be chasing that guy with fresh people at the end of the game," Gibbs said. "We have quality guys and are much more willing to rotate them." . . .

Jill Parcells, daughter of Giants Coach Bill Parcells, was accused of striking an RFK Stadium usher with an umbrella two weeks ago when she was prevented from going on the field at the end of the game. Her dad joked about the incident yesterday, saying: "I told her if we have any more umbrella incidents, I'm not going to get her any more tickets. I've gotten mixed reports on the story. She's a senior at Gettysburg College, and she's got a little bit of a mouth on her. She's a little bit like her father in that regard."