ASHBURN, Va. (CBSDC) — Redskins starters will not play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Thursday’s preseason finale, coach Jay Gruden said on Tuesday.
Gruden will sit quarterback Robert Griffin III and most other regulars. Gruden cited a “couple of good days of practice” as the reason to rest the starters despite a poor offensive performance against Baltimore on Saturday in the third preseason game.
Instead, backups and reserves competing for precious roster spots will get the majority of the playing time on Thursday. Final cuts for the 53-man roster are due to the NFL by 4 p.m. on Saturday.
“[It is] so we can solidify those [backup] roles,” Gruden said. “Very important. I think we have our starters. In general, we feel pretty good about who they are. Now we need to find the key backups and who they are. Make sure they get the ample reps to make the football team and show what they can do on the field.”
Meanwhile, safety Phillip Thomas is going to see the North Carolina doctor who performed his surgery last summer to repair a Lisfranc sprain in his left foot. That knocked him out for the entire season. Thomas was on the practice field on Tuesday, but will not play against the Buccaneers. His foot is sore again.
Thomas’ status is important because Washington lacks depth at safety with veteran Brandon Meriweather suspended the first two games of the regular season following an illegal hit on Ravens’ wide receiver Torrey Smith in Saturday’s game.
In other injury news, cornerback Tracy Porter will likely play after recovering from a lingering hamstring injury, Gruden said. Players like linebacker Brian Orakpo (ankle) and Jordan Reed (thumb) weren’t going to play anyway.
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