CARLISLE, PA., AUG. 5 -- The other day, Washington Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs sat reporters down in front of a chalkboard and drew the ideal play involving dueling running backs George Rogers and Kelvin Bryant.

One of them, and he didn't specify which, would be lined up behind or to the side of quarterback Jay Schroeder. Gibbs marked the spot in chalk. Gibbs then drew a long, sweeping line and connected it to a rectangle far from the play he had just drawn.

The other running back, Gibbs said, would be serving the Redskins best by "being on the bench."

Gibbs drew laughter, but his point had been made.

"I think it would be a sin for me as a coach to put Kelvin and George in the same backfield," he said. "There's problems playing two runners together. You've got to have a runner and a blocker."

The Rogers-Bryant question, certain to be a hot topic as long as both stay healthy this summer and fall, has been partially answered. So they won't be on the field together, Gibbs has said over and over again. But how will they play? And when?

Rogers, who missed practice today after spraining his left big toe Tuesday, said he believes he still will be in on most first downs and short-yardage situations.

"They still need a guy to pound it out and run out the clock," he said as he sat under an overhanging roof to avoid a heavy rain at the practice field at Dickinson College this morning. "I think Kelvin will be in on second-and-long, third-and-long, and some first-and-10, too. They want to have a little change-up for the defense."

"I think he's still the starter," Bryant said.

The amount they play is an issue that likely won't be addressed until a game is in progress.

"I'm going to play as much as Kelvin in some games, and I'm sure he's going to play more than me in some," said Rogers, who was the workhorse of the Washington offense the last two seasons, gaining more than 1,000 yards each year. "Against the New York Giants, we've had trouble running, so I'm sure Kelvin will play more. When we play against defenses we want to run against, then I'm sure I'll play more."

There's playing time, and then there's strategy when they are in the game.

"There's definitely things you would do with George {inside running plays}, but when Kelvin's in there, we definitely have a tendency to do the things he does best {receiving and outside running}," Gibbs said. "So I think it does change quite a bit, depending on your back. My best example was John Riggins and Joe Washington. You wouldn't do some of the things with Joe Washington you did with John."

Gibbs said today that the Redskins have added plays to their offense because of Bryant. As Gibbs elaborated on Bryant, he used the word "exceptional" four times. An excerpt:

"I think he's exceptional at the spot he's playing and we're trying to create anything we can there that would help get the ball in his hands," Gibbs said. "Everyone mentions new wrinkles, the evolution of an offense. . . . When you've got an exceptional talent, that's what you do."

One obvious difference in the way the Redskins are handling Rogers and Bryant is the way they line them up. Rogers almost always is the I-back, behind Schroeder and sometimes tight end Don Warren, who really is a blocking fullback in the one-back scheme. "I should put a '20' number on Donnie Warren," Gibbs said at his chalk talk, laughing that he really runs a two-back offense, with Warren as the second back.

Bryant could be lined up in an I-formation, or he might be "off-set," Gibbs said, "in what amounts to a split-back set. We'll take him out behind the quarterback. We prefer to keep George behind the quarterback."

At the team's May minicamp, Rogers said he would like to run more pitchouts to get outside the defense quicker. Gibbs said the Redskins would prefer to stick with handoffs because they create more confusion for a defense.

"The problem with a pitch is everybody on defense immediately recognizes a pitch," Gibbs said. "When we hand {off} on our outside plays, there's always a threat {Rogers} is going to come back {inside} for us."

One man responsible for bringing some new ideas to the Redskins offense is Dan Henning, former Atlanta Falcons head coach who was rehired by the Redskins in January. Henning ran the one-back offense in Atlanta.

"Kelvin will run all the plays that George will run, and then some," Henning said. "The difference with Kelvin is the type of formations we might run them out of could be different. But he is running everything George runs. He has to be capable enough and we have to be confident enough to have him run them."

The Redskins like the idea of their two backs time-sharing because it theoretically should keep both fresher and healthier. That has been the biggest problem for Bryant, whose professional resume is dotted with injuries, including stretched knee ligaments that kept him out of six games in his first season as a Redskin last year.

Rogers is the one who is missing time now. He hopes to practice by Friday, but said he won't play in the Redskins' Saturday scrimmage against the New York Jets at 1 p.m. at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa.

Rogers also is concerned about his playing time once he returns to full-speed and the season begins.

"If it gets to the point where I'm sitting down and then I go in late, it's going to create a problem," Rogers said. "I'm going to start fumbling the ball {as he did in 1985 when he shared time with Riggins}. But I've got to work it out myself. . . . I'm pretty sure there will be times when I'm down, but I'm still going to be getting paid, so I'll be happy."

As for Bryant, he just wants to play more than he did last season, when he was strictly a passing-down back: "I wanted to run the ball more {last season}, but I guess my getting hurt took away from that."