Safety Brandon Meriweather was all smiles during training camp, but that was when it was assumed he would be on track to play in the season opener. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Coach Mike Shanahan said Thursday he doesn’t plan to play safety Brandon Meriweather in the Washington Redskins’ preseason game Saturday against the Buffalo Bills. Shanahan also expressed some doubt about Meriweather’s potential readiness for the regular season opener, saying he’s not certain that Meriweather will be able to play Sept. 9 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Meriweather, who’s working his way back after playing only one game last season because of a series of knee injuries, could play for the first time in this preseason in the Redskins’ exhibition-season finale next Thursday at Tampa, Shanahan said.

“Right now I would say not,” Shanahan said on the subject of Meriweather playing this weekend. “Play him in the last game — that’s my thought process right now. It could change after I look at the film today but right now that’s my first thought. … If I felt like he was ready, he would be in a game situation. He would be practicing full speed. I just don’t feel like he’s quite there yet. I like the strides that he’s made. I’m hoping by the Tampa game he can play.”

The Redskins have been hopeful that Meriweather will be ready to face the Eagles in the opener. But Shanahan said that remains to be seen.

“I didn’t say I was that confident,” Shanahan said. “I said we’re just gonna test it out. I said I would like to get him to go in the Tampa game. I just felt that’s it a little early right now, watching him in practice. I think he’s close. But he’s not there yet. He might be ready for the first game. He might not. He might be ready versus Tampa. I just don’t know at this time. I wouldn’t put him out there at least unless practice looks a little bit different to me than I first saw it today.”

Cornerback Josh Wilson is scheduled to play Saturday, Shanahan said. Wilson sat out the first two preseason games after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery for a torn labrum.

“I’m going to play the starters probably around 20 plays on offense and defense and not much more than that, somewhere in that area, guys that have been the starters,” Shanahan said. “A guy like Josh, we’re going to play him with the first group and see how he does. We’ll play him for in that area of 15 or 20 plays.”

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.

What’s ahead:

● On Friday, the team has a walkthrough before Saturday’s 4:30 p.m. game against the Bills.

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