by Brian McNally

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — The Redskins return to FedEx Field on Monday night for a primetime preseason game against the Cleveland Browns.

Starters are expected to play about a quarter, according to head coach Jay Gruden. Quarterback Robert Griffin III will have his two primary weapons back at receiver after Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson missed the first game on Aug. 7 against New England with hamstring injuries. Both players were back at practice last week.

Expect Washington to give Griffin more chances in the passing game than it did against the Patriots. Griffin and the starters ran 10 plays from scrimmage on the opening drive and the Redskins converted a field goal. Griffin was 2-for-4 on that drive, completing a pair of short passes to tight end Logan Paulsen and running back Roy Helu. The drive stalled at the New England 16.

“It’s more about the offense and our flow and what we do,” Gruden said. “If certain situations come up, we’ve got to handle them – third-and-long, third-and-short, whatever they might be, red zone, goal line short yardage. All those are very important for us to try to get a test on moving forward to the regular season. But if they don’t come up, they don’t come up. Hopefully we’ll get them in the third game, but we’re getting a lot of them out here at practice.”

Not expected to play are running back Chris Thompson (ankle), inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton (ankle) and defensive end Jason Hatcher (knee surgery). Safety Brandon Meriweather is questionable with a toe injury. Sharpton’s injury – a high ankle sprain – is the most serious and could keep him out again on Saturday against the Baltimore Ravens in the third preseason game.

But Thompson’s ankle sprain may have the most serious consequences. He is in competition for a final roster spot or two at running back, but hasn’t practiced since sustaining the injury against New England. Those repetitions instead will go to the competition Monday – Lache Seastrunk, Silas Redd and Evan Royster.

“It gives them an opportunity, it really does. Every rep that [Thompson] doesn’t take, somebody is going to take it,” Gruden said. “Unfortunately for him, his ankle, it’s a sprain. It’s a high ankle, low ankle, I don’t know where it is, but it’s holding him out. It’s unfortunate for him because he was doing a great job. It does open up a window for other guys that perform and we’ll see what they do with it.”

If Meriweather can’t play, expect Bacarri Rambo to slide over to strong safety. He was given chances at that spot in practice on Friday. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett praised Rambo’s play in the New England game when he started for injured safety Ryan Clark (hamstring). Clark is expected back on Monday at free safety. Fellow safety Phillip Thomas is also supposed to play. He, too, missed the preseason opener with a hamstring injury.

Follow Redskins reporter Brian McNally on Twitter.


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