- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Five questions heading into the Redskins’ Thursday night preseason opener against the Patriots at FedEx Field.

1. How long will the starters play? Coach Jay Gruden said the starters will play around eight to 10 snaps, and at most a quarter, “depending on my satisfaction.” Wide receiver Pierre Garçon and free safety Ryan Clark won’t play at all because of hamstring injuries, while wide receiver DeSean Jackson will be a game-time decision after rolling his left ankle in practice.

2. Will any of the running backs take a step forward? Alfred Morris has the starting job locked up, and Roy Helu looks to have a hold on the No. 2 spot. Evan Royster, Chris Thompson, Lache Seastrunk and Silas Redd will all have to show that they’re multi-dimensional backs in order to grab the last spot on the roster.

3. How will Keenan Robinson’s pectoral hold up? The inside linebacker put on pads last week for the first time since Thanksgiving 2012 but still has to overcome the mental hurdles associated with making a tackle. The controlled scrimmages this week have helped reassure him of his health.

4. Has Bacarri Rambo improved? Defensive backs coach Raheem Morris said earlier this week that the free safety “has some demons” to overcome, especially when it comes to tackling. He has alternately looked sharp and baffling during training camp practices — and that needs to change if he hopes to be Clark’s backup.

5. Which wide receiver can claim the last spot? It seems likely that the Redskins will keep six wide receivers, with three of those spots locked down by Jackson, Garçon and Andre Roberts. Gruden likes Santana Moss and rookie Ryan Grant, and with Leonard Hankerson still recovering from knee surgery, six others — including Aldrick Robinson and Nick Williams — could be battling for one slot.

SEE ALSO: Keenan Robinson ready to prove his worth as Redskins’ man in middle

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

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