PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Here is what you need to know on Thursday, August 9, seven days before the Washington Redskins host the Jets in their second preseason game. 

Talking points

Who will play and who will sit when the Redskins take on the Patriots tonight? Here is what Jay Gruden said when he was asked how long his starters will play:

"Yeah, we’ll decide on game day. I want to get a good practice out here today and we’ll make a decision here. I kind of got it in my mind what I’m going to do, but I don’t want to have it etched in stone and then change my mind last minute. But, we’ll see how it goes."

In other words, he’s not saying. 

From observations during the week and some statements by Gruden, here are some anticipated Week 1 starters who are likely to be spectators tonight:

  • OT Trent Williams (knee)
  • OT Morgan Moses (ankle)
  • WR Josh Doctson (heel)
  • WR Jamison Crowder (groin)
  • TE Jordan Reed (toes)
  • NT Daron Payne (ankle)
  • S D.J. Swearinger (groin)

It’s also possible that we won’t see any of Matt Ioannidis (turf toe) or Zach Brown (quad). It should be noted that Williams, Moses and Reed are still rehabbing injuries from 2017 while the rest are out due to various maladies from training camp.

How much will the starters who do participate play? Gruden won’t say, so we will have to look at recent history. Last year, the Redskins opened up against the Ravens. Washington received the opening kickoff and Kirk Cousins directed a three and out. The next time they had the ball, it was three and out again. When the Redskins got the ball back it was Colt McCoy at quarterback and most of the other starters were out.


There was a lot of variance on defense. A year ago, some starters played only three snaps while Jonathan Allen played 21.

In Atlanta in 2016, the starters played just one series, but that one lasted eight snaps. They got two first downs before punting. The range on defense was from three to about 20.

So, the likely answer to “how long?” for the offense is one series if they move the ball some, two if the first one is a three and out. The participation of defensive starters will vary depending on individual needs. 

Water cooler wisdom

The Redskins have lost their last two preseason openers, to the Falcons in 2016 and to the Ravens last year. The last time they won their preseason opener was in 2015 when they beat the Browns. That was the last time they made the playoffs. On a side note, preseason wins and losses mean nothing. 

On the record

Jay Gruden on what he is looking for tonight: "I think we have to see who rises to the occasion under the lights, really. Special teams is huge, you know we'll see some guys run around on special teams making some plays on teams obviously and then the battles, you know, see some of these young guys play.”

Comment: You can’t just be a preseason “gamer” and make the team. But given a choice between a player who is OK in practice and great in preseason games and one who is excellent practicing and so-so in games, most teams will take the one who plays well. 

The agenda

Today: Redskins vs. Patriots, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Washington

Upcoming: Preseason Jets @ Redskins (Aug. 16) 7 days; Final cut (Sept. 1) 23 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 31 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