RICHMOND—Jay Gruden is trying some nontraditional things during training camp in his first season as an NFL coach but the playing time for his first-string players in the initial preseason game isn’t one of them.
The Redskins open their preseason at FedEx Field on Thursday against the New England Patriots. Gruden will follow the conventional pattern of playing the starters just long enough for them to break a sweat.
“The ultimate goal is to A) get our starters in there series or two, get a good rhythm going for them, and then B) get the backups in there and find out who are best 53 are,” said Gruden.
So if you want to see Robert Griffin III play in a preseason game for the first time since 2012, leave early and make sure you don’t get caught in Beltway traffic.
The first preseason game is more about the bottom half of the roster.
“As far as the game is concerned, I think we're more interested in finding out who can play,” said Gruden. “We're not trying to game plan as far as the scheme is concerned, we're trying to line up and find out who can play—run some base, run some base pass concepts. They [the Patriots] are going to do the same thing.”
Gruden has said that the most important task the team has during training camp is to pick the right 53 players to take into the regular season and that the preseason games are the most important factor in making the roster cuts. So it’s a big night for about 50 to 60 players on the 90-man roster who are battling to be on the regular season roster.