- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 20, 2019

ASHBURN — If Thursday’s preseason game was a regular-season contest, Trey Quinn is confident he would be playing. But because the Redskins wide receiver is still nursing a thumb injury, Washington will keep Quinn sidelined when they travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons.

Quinn understands the reasoning — the game’s outcome doesn’t matter in the long run — but that doesn’t mean he has to like it.

“I like reps,” said Quinn, who suffered the injury prior to kickoff two weeks ago against the Cleveland Browns. “I freaking love football. I don’t need them, but I want them. I get aggravated not being out there. I get pretty (ticked) off.”

With the Redskins being ultra-cautious, Washington ultimately won’t have its full starting offense take the field before the season opener in Philadelphia next month.

Beyond Quinn, coach Jay Gruden said wideout Paul Richardson (quad) “probably” won’t play against the Falcons, and the team is undecided if players like tight end Jordan Reed and running back Derrius Guice will make their preseason debuts. Of course, left tackle Trent Williams won’t be there either as he continues to hold out.

But in the meantime, that opens the doors for other players — especially at wideout, a position where the coaching staff is still waiting for someone to emerge.

“We’ve got a chance to look at all our receivers,” Gruden said. “Going to try and get them some touches in this game. It’s going to be important. See how they block in the running game and how they do in the kickoff cover. Punt cover will be very important for them.”

The Redskins have yet to decide who will start on the outside. In camp, Richardson and Josh Doctson often received reps with the ones, though Gruden likes to mix and match his receivers, so they weren’t always paired together.

Third-rounder Terry McLaurin has also impressed throughout practices — and the speedster can play all three positions. The 22-year-old has mostly lined up as the “X” receiver, a position Doctson also plays.

McLaurin, though, has received only one snap in the preseason. He was held out last week against the Bengals as a precautionary with a tailbone injury. McLaurin landed awkwardly on a play during Washington’s last practice in Richmond.

Thursday could be a key opportunity for McLaurin in stealing a starting spot. Likewise, Doctson also has a great chance to lock down his spot.

Traditionally, a team’s third preseason game is considered a “dress rehearsal” for the regular season. Coaches will play their starters extended minutes, and that includes Gruden. The Redskins plan on having the first unit play between a quarter to a whole half.

Increasingly, teams are changing their approach to the preseason — preferring to not risk injury for key players.  

Last year, the Los Angeles Rams went the entire preseason without playing their starting offense — and still made the Super Bowl. This year, 12 starting quarterbacks have yet to play this preseason, per Pro Football Talk. Coaches, players and analysts around the league have debated whether rest or getting game reps is more valuable during the preseason.

The Redskins tend to fall on the cautious side. After they were ravaged by injuries the last two years, the main priority is to come out healthy — even with an offense that’s still very much coming together.

“I just want to get these guys working together, get some drives – communication, different sets, both sides of the ball, maybe get some no-huddle,” Gruden said of his starters. “So it’ll be good for them.”

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