The Washington Post

Redskins Coach Jay Gruden reveals his approach to culling roster

Jay Gruden will have some roster decisions to make by the end of camp. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

RICHMOND — Since arriving in Richmond for training camp, roughly 90 Redskins have been weighed, timed and measured in conditioning drills. Their on-field drills have been filmed, scrutinized and debated among coaches and the media.

And Monday, the New England Patriots come to town for three days of joint practices that will serve as a measuring stick for many roster hopefuls.

But from perspective of first-year NFL coach Jay Gruden, the biggest factor in culling the roster will be players’ performances in the four preseason games –the first of which is Aug. 7, against the Patriots at FedEx Field.

Wednesday at training camp, Gruden offered a bit of insight into how he and his staff will pare their roster — first to 75 on Aug. 26, following the third preseason game, and then to 53 on Aug. 30, following the final preseason game.

Gruden said his staff has a depth-chart board that’s in flux daily. Each morning before the 8:35 a.m. practice, coaches meet and review the players at each position, discussing how they’re progressing and whether they ought to get more reps in practice or fewer.

Though it’s early in the evaluation process, Gruden said the staff has a good feel for players already. But their analysis may change — and in some cases, is sure to change — once preseason games gets under way.

“The more you tackle in these preseason games, some guys are going to emerge that you didn’t think are going to emerge, and some guys are going to kind of fall back that you wouldn’t expect to fall back,” Gruden said.

“But you have to let the games be the main evaluator — not just coming out here in shorts at walkthroughs and practice. So the games are going to be a major part of how we evaluate the bottom half of the roster and the backups and the depth of our team.”

Among the positions with spirited competition is the second-string offensive line, the third-down running back and wide receiver, where there’s plenty of talent (DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts), experience (Santana Moss) and youth (fifth-round draft pick Ryan Grant, Aldrick Robinson), leaving few spots up for grabs.

Redskins preseason schedule:

Aug. 7 – New England (FedEx Field)

Aug. 18 – Cleveland Browns (FedEx Field)

Aug. 23 – at Baltimore Ravens

Aug. 28 – at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Also from The Post:

Reid: Redskins should keep Hatcher out of preseason

Cornerback Courtney Bridget Jr. is waived

Mike Jones’s observations from Day 7

Griffin says zone-read plays remain in the offense

More NFL coverage: Home page | D.C. Sports Bog | The Early Lead | Fancy Stats

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @lizclarketweet | @JReidPost | @Insider

Liz Clarke currently covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. She has also covered seven Olympic Games, two World Cups and written extensively about college sports, tennis and auto racing.



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