CARLISLE, PA., AUG. 23 -- In Coach Joe Gibbs' mind, the Washington Redskins' 45-man roster is beginning to take shape. Within the next nine days, by Sept. 1, he must pare 27 players from his bulging roster to reach 60. A week later, he must be down to the final 45.

Although Gibbs wasn't saying today what plans he has for releasing, trading or placing on injured reserve nearly half of the players he now has, some signals were discernible during and after the Redskins' 33-0 victory over Green Bay Saturday in Madison, Wis.

Gibbs wants to keep three quarterbacks. He has said this before and then has kept only two, but parting with either No. 2 Doug Williams or No. 3 Mark Rypien is not something the Redskins are likely to do, at least as things stand now. The injured reserve options seem nil, too.

"It's going to make it tougher on the team, but I think you've just got to evaluate it with the players you've got," Gibbs said this evening at Dickinson College. "Obviously, the great thing would be having two and having one on the taxi squad who can come up. We don't have that. We have to go by the rules. Hopefully we're going to get that changed {with a larger roster or an allowance for an extra quarterback over the 45-man limit}, but until we do, we've got to make the best decisions we can."

If the Redskins keep an extra quarterback, another position will have to give up a spot it has had the last couple of seasons. Gibbs said he has outlined a final roster breakdown "two or three times, starting a week and a half ago. There's almost a guy or two at every spot who could change it."

The team would like to keep "at least eight offensive linemen," Gibbs said. A rookie who looks as if he is well on his way to winning one of those places is Ed Simmons. Simmons played most of Saturday's game against the Packers at right tackle in place of Mark May, who has a bruised shoulder but is expected back this week for the team's third preseason game at Tampa Bay Saturday at 7 p.m.

"Right now he's just done about everything," Gibbs said of Simmons, a sixth-round draft choice. "He keeps looking good in everything he does. He seems to be eager. He's been very coachable. . . . He's just been very impressive so far."

Assistant head coach/offense Joe Bugel said if May is healthy, he will start at right tackle in Tampa, with R.C. Thielemann at right guard. But, during the game, it's likely May will move to guard and Simmons will come in at tackle, he said.

Backup center and long-snapper Jeff Bostic did not disappoint Gibbs with his bad snaps Saturday on a field goal try and an extra point attempt. "The guy's been great," Gibbs said. "I think it's just an isolated thing."

If the Redskins keep five running backs, most observers could name four right now: George Rogers, Kelvin Bryant, Keith Griffin and rookie Timmy Smith, who scored a touchdown and rushed for 45 yards against Green Bay.

"Timmy's been doing well all the way," Gibbs said. "He's been doing a real good job."

Overall, Gibbs said his opinion of his offense was "still up in the air."

"Jay {Schroeder} doesn't get that many opportunities {Saturday}. You're rolling into the second quarter and you're already 17 points ahead, so you figure we'll start substituting. It's kind of hard. A game like that makes it tough," he said.

Schroeder said he didn't feel he was "sharp" and said he thought he would get more playing time the last two preseason games. Gibbs said he would.

"We'll be going more now with our first units in these last two games, trying to polish up," he said.

Gibbs called Williams' performance Saturday "awful good."

"Doug probably had a couple shots in there he'd like to have back, but he got some pressure and put the ball right on the money a couple times. I think Doug's going to make big plays."

Rypien, Gibbs said, "did what we thought he would."

On defense, questions continue to swirl in the secondary, where the right cornerback spot still seems to be up for grabs. Barry Wilburn is scheduled to start at Tampa Bay in a rotation the coaches established involving veterans Vernon Dean, Tim Morrison and Wilburn. It appears Wilburn is on the spot and needs to play very well to get back in the running for a starting job.

Morrison, who started against the Packers, drew the praise of defensive backs assistant Emmitt Thomas today.

"He played great. He hit hard, he was aggressive, he was flying all over the place," Thomas said.

Thomas also had kind words for rookie cornerback Brian Davis, playing in his first game.

"I thought he played very well," Thomas said. "He had a good work week and it carried over. . . . I was very impressed with him."

Thomas said what struck him most was the way Davis played strategically, what the coaches call technique. That's something they've been waiting to see from Davis.

Thomas called Davis' first-half-ending interception "anticlimactic," saying his overall game was more important -- and more impressive.