Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke, attempting to squash rumors about the coaching vacancy in Tampa Bay, said yesterday he believes Joe Gibbs will coach his football team for the foreseeable future.

Cooke reiterated his confidence in Gibbs and said reports he might soon be leaving the Redskins were "absolute poppycock."

Cooke was responding to reports that surfaced around the country in the wake of Tampa Bay's firing of Ray Perkins. Hugh Culverhouse Jr., the son of Bucs owner Hugh Culverhouse Sr., was quoted as saying that Gibbs was his first choice, Bill Walsh his second.

Several other NFL sources speculated that Culverhouse might be able to lure Gibbs from Washington with a huge financial package that would include a minority ownership of the Bucs.

But yesterday both Gibbs and Cooke said Gibbs wouldn't be leaving the Redskins. Gibbs's contract status is unclear since he and Cooke negotiate with one another and keep the terms to themselves.

However, it's clear the two men work well together and have no intention of parting company.

"There's not a shred of truth in the entire story," Cooke said.

"It's made of whole cloth. Joe Gibbs is the best coach in the National Football League. He's the kind of coach the Washington Redskins deserve and have, and we won't lose him. I'm prepared to say it from the steps of city hall and the steps of the Capitol. Joe is the coach of the Washington Redskins and will remain the coach. He has no intention of going to Tampa or anywhere else."The Posse Update

Art Monk's 10 catches against the Dolphins put him over the 50-catch mark for the eighth time in his 11-year career. Only Seattle's Steve Largent, who did it 10 times, has more 50-catch seasons.

Monk has 55 receptions this season and 717 for his career, which places him third on the all-time list behind Largent (819) and Charlie Joiner (750). Monk has averaged 4.7 catches per game this season, and at that pace, would pass Largent on the all-time receptions list in Week 1 of the 1992 season.

Gary Clark's three catches on Sunday gave him 402 for his career and he trails Jerry Smith by 19 for third place on the Redskins' career receiving list.

Monk (717) and Charley Taylor (649) are the leaders. Clark needs 73 yards to reach the 1,000-yard mark for the fourth time in five seasons.

Fun With Numbers

The 42 points against the Miami Dolphins was the Redskins' highest regular season point total since they scored 44 against Minnesota in a 1986 overtime game. . . . The Redskins are 9-2 in Mark Rypien's last 11 starts, and he has thrown 20 touchdown passes and six interceptions over that stretch. He has 12 touchdown passes and two interceptions and is the NFC's third-leading passer, trailing Phil Simms (95.3) and Randall Cunningham (93.6). Rypien's rating is 92.8. . . .

The Redskins have converted 45.8 percent of their third downs -- the second-best ratio in the NFC and the fourth best in the NFL. San Francisco, Houston and the Raiders have done better. . . .

The Redskins have scored on 36 of their 40 possessions inside the 20-yard line. . . . Gibbs is 19-4 against the NFC Central. That includes a 4-3 record against Chicago, 6-0 against Detroit, 2-1 against Green Bay, 5-0 against Minnesota and 2-0 against Tampa Bay. . . . Cornerback Martin Mayhew, who is being tested virtually every passing play with teams staying away from Darrell Green, is tied for second in the NFC with six interceptions. He has had at least one in four straight games. . . . The Redskins have three AFC opponents remaining after Sunday's game with Chicago.Gentle Reminder

The Redskins are reminding fans that Sunday's game with the Chicago Bears is a 4 p.m. kickoff. Tickets are printed with a 1 p.m. start, but it was changed to accommodate CBS. . . . The Redskins are asking fans to bring a toy to the game for the annual "Toys For Tots" campaign.