ASHBURN - When the Redskins traveled to Atlanta to face the Falcons last week coaches made clear not to expect much action from the starters. Kirk Cousins played just the first series, and most of the starters on both sides of the ball were out of the game before the end of the first quarter.
Friday night when the 'Skins face the Jets, starters will play more. How much more remains a question.
"I don’t know yet," Gruden said Wednesday. "We will probably get a little more than we did last week."
Gruden explained that the coaches will discuss playing time in a Thursday morning meeting. The most important factors for the coaches, Gruden said, is to determine what players are healthy enough to take the field in the preseason and go from there. That list will include guys like Jordan Reed and Trent Williams, who the coach said is getting close to being ready.
"He’s gradually coming along," Gruden said of Williams. "We’re taking it slow with him, too. He wants to be out there really bad, but we’re holding him back a little bit."
If there's a silver lining to guys missing preseason action, it gives players on the roster bubble more of a chance to show out for coaches.
"It’s critical. Every time they go out here and take a rep, it’s critical for guys trying to make the team," Gruden said. "And we’re evaluating them."
Looking at snap counts from the second preseason game of 2015, it looks like the starting offense got less than 20 snaps. The regular starting offensive line (Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Brandon Scherff and Morgan Moses) all got 16 snaps, as did Robert Griffin III, the team's starting QB at the time. Interestingly, Kirk Cousins got 28 snaps that game, apt for the third-string QB, while Colt McCoy also got 26 snaps.
On the other side of the ball it's a bit tougher to tell snap expectations, as play situation often dictates the defensive formation. Preston Smith started the 2015 second preseason game against the Lions and logged 30 snaps, a lot, but considering he was a rookie at the time, not that unexpected. Conversely, Terrance Knighton also started that preseason game, but logged just 11 snaps.
On the offensive side of the ball, again expect below 20 snaps for the starters. That could mean two drives, or perhaps a bit more, but figure at least two drive for Kirk Cousins one week after the QB played just eight snaps. After that, Gruden will let his instinct make the call.
**Snap totals courtesy Pro Football Focus**