Washington Redskins starters might see a little bit of action against the New England Patriots in the first preseason game Thursday evening, but it’s really a game for the reserves and the coaches.
It's the first chance for fans to see quarterback Alex Smith in game action in a Redskins uniform. But for Smith and the other starters, it’s just a chance to get their feet wet.
For rookies and other young players, they are making their cases to be kept on the roster.
The Redskins' running back competition will be front and center. Second-round pick Derrius Guice will get an opportunity to show he can be No. 1, with third-down back Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley seeing action. Samaje Perine, Byron Marshall and Kapri Bibbs figure to compete for a roster spot.
Thursday’s game in Foxborough, Massachusetts, will be head coach Jay Gruden’s first chance to evaluate his 90-man roster outside the controlled environment of practice.
He said the game is also important practice for the coaching staff.
“I think it’s important for us as coaches to handle it like a game, obviously, with the substitutions and trying to get the plays in on time, making sure we has little chaos as there can be,” Gruden said. “With all the substitution with punting — guys out somewhere out of the game and we have to just communicate that with our special teams coaches and coordinators. And so, I think try to keep it as calm and poised as we can but also get a lot of work done and look at a lot of guys.”
The Redskins are coming off a 7-9 season. They haven’t reached the playoffs since the 2015 season.
Thursday’s game in Foxborough, Massachusetts, will be the Redskins’ first time meeting the AFC champion Patriots in the preseason since a 23-6 win at FedEx Field in 2014. The last time the teams met in the regular season, New England won 27-10 in November 2015.
The game will be broadcast on NBC4 at 7:30 p.m. After the game, get a breakdown in the Redskins postgame report followed by News4 at 11.
NBC4's regular programming will be on Cozi TV. Here's where to find Cozi in D.C.