- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Five questions as the Redskins visit Tampa Bay on Thursday for their final preseason game:

1. Who will be on the field? After stringing along the possibility that the first-string offense may see a series or two, Redskins coach Jay Gruden shot down such an idea on Tuesday. Instead, this game — as is usually the case — will give the coaching staff a chance to evaluate the backups and see, in advance of Saturday’s deadline, who will stick on the roster.

2. How long will Kirk Cousins play? The backup quarterback will likely see action for the better part of the first half, although there was no public commitment by the coaching staff to getting Cousins any set amount of time. Once he leaves, the keys will be given to Colt McCoy, who can then state his case for a roster spot.

3. Will there finally be clarity at running back? Evan Royster, Chris Thompson, Lache Seastrunk and Silas Redd should all see a good number of snaps — especially Thompson, who missed each of the last two preseason games with a sprained ankle. At least one, and perhaps two, will make the 53-man roster. This game will be their last audition.

4. Can Bacarri Rambo play strong safety? With starter Brandon Meriweather suspended for the first two games because of an illegal hit on Baltimore wide receiver Torrey Smith on Saturday, and with Phillip Thomas experiencing soreness in his problematic left foot, Rambo is again pegged to begin the season as a starter. After bouncing back this preseason from a miserable rookie year, he should see extensive time at the position against the Buccaneers.

5. What other position battles are worth watching? Keep an eye on the rotation at inside linebacker, where Will Compton, Adam Hayward, Akeem Jordan and Darryl Sharpton are vying for playing time behind Perry Riley and Keenan Robinson. It will also be interesting to see the specialists — kickers Kai Forbath and Zach Hocker and punters Robert Malone and Tress Way — also try to earn their spot.

• Zac Boyer can be reached at zboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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