Here is what you need to know on Friday, August 24, eight days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster down to 53 players. 

Talking points

Another preseason game, another round of “who the heck is lining up to play for the Redskins this week?”. 

Usually, Week 3 of the preseason is easy to figure out what will happen. The starters play the first half. The only “suspense” is whether they will come out and play the first series of the third quarter. 

However, the Redskins will have several of their starters sitting out tonight, most of them on the offensive side of the ball. The “dress rehearsal” game will feature some understudies. 

The following players have either been ruled out by Jay Gruden or appear to be unlikely to play. 

  • TE Jordan Reed
  • RB Chris Thompson
  • RB Samaje Perine
  • RB Byron Marshall
  • DL Matt Ioannidis
  • ILB Zach Brown

In addition to those players, it would not be surprising to see OT Ty Nsekhe and WR’s Maurice Harris, Brian Quick, and Cam Sims on the sideline. 

Gruden sounded dubious about the prospects of Trent Williams playing on Wednesday. Yesterday after a walkthrough at Joint Base Andrews, he changed his tune, saying that Williams will be “dressed and ready to roll.” 

One player who will be on the field for Washington is running back Adrian Peterson. Gruden said that he would play in the first half and long enough to “get him some touches and get a good lather going."


How long that is would be anybody’s guess, but I’d put the over/under at about 12.5 snaps and 5.5 carries.

We should see Alex Smith for the first half. He did not play at all in the preseason opener and he took just 10 snaps against the Jets last Thursday. Figure that the offense will take about 35 snaps in the first half, meaning that Smith, in his first year in this offense, will go into the season opener on September 9 with fewer than 50 preseason snaps under his belt. For comparison, last year Kirk Cousins, who was starting his fourth year in Gruden’s offense, played 83 preseason snaps. 

We will find out if Smith had enough preseason work in about 16 days. 

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The agenda

Today: Redskins vs. Broncos 7:30, NBC Sports Washington

Upcoming: Final cut (Sept. 1) 8 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 16 days; Home opener vs. Colts (Sept. 16) 23 days

In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler