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Redskins Rest Starters While Giving Younger Players Increased Roles


During Friday's preseason game against the Jets, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden rested nine starters to keep them fresh while giving younger players extended action against a good team.

Jay Gruden wanted to see how the team's depth would handle a late call to see extra playing time.

During the Redskins' 22-18 comeback victory over the New York Jets Friday evening at FedExField, Gruden elected to not have quarterback Kirk Cousins, wide receivers Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson, tight end Jordan Reed and tackle Trent Williams play for the offense.

Defensively, linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Will Compton along with cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland and Josh Norman watched from the sidelines.

"It was my decision this morning," Gruden said after the game. "We have a lot of good players in this locker room and I wanted to make sure our backups were ready to play at all times. We had a lot of our backups step up into starting roles last year and I thought it was important for Colt [McCoy] to get some quality work and quality defense, along with some of the other guys that played, in first-team roles."

McCoy would play the entire first half, engineering two touchdown drives along with another that stalled out after a would-be touchdown was called back before an interception was thrown.

The University of Texas product finished the evening 13-of-16 for 159 yards and his two touchdown connections with Rashad Ross.

On the defensive side of the ball, Gruden wanted to see some of the younger players expected to contribute some this season in larger roles.

"I wanted to see [Martell] Spaight play with the ones and against a good offense in the New York Jets," Gruden said. "I wanted to see [Kendall] Fuller. I wanted to see [Quinton] Dunbar play against Brandon Marshall and some of these guys from the Jets. These guys really showed up in practice. I wanted to see how they did against a heck of a unit like the New York Jets. They showed up and played extremely well."

Check out these top defensive shots from the Washington Redskins' 2016 Preseason Week 2 matchup against the New York Jets Aug, 19, 2016 at at the FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

The Redskins return to game action on Friday when they host the Buffalo Bills at FedExField.

The third preseason game is traditionally one in which the starters play around a half or so. Buffalo on Saturday shut out the New York Giants 21-0 as Tyrod Taylor went 7-of-10 for 132 yards and a touchdown while the defense recorded three sacks, two fumbles forced and two interceptions.

Washington will then travel to Tampa Bay for the preseason finale, a Sept. 1 tilt with the Buccaneers.

While Gruden hasn't completely made up his mind yet on if the starters will play that night, he doubts they'll see action.

Rest for the top-line players is important before the regular season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football.

"We're going to play them a lot next week against the Buffalo Bills," Gruden said. "We're going to treat Buffalo very seriously and prepare. Get a good week of preparation. We'll get some good work next week."

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