The Washington Post

Gruden has simple expectations for preseason opener

RICHMOND – Redskins coach Jay Gruden said he won’t set a lot of expectations for Thursday’s preseason opener against New England, but that more than anything, he wants to see players make the most of the opportunities they receive.

Jay Gruden. (Joe Mahoney/Richmond Times-Dispatch, via AP)

Gruden plans on giving his starters around eight to 10 snaps, but added that if the units struggle, he could play them a little longer.

Otherwise, Gruden has a simple mission for the first preseason game.

“We’re just trying to find guys who can play and trying to put them in a situation where they can play football and succeed,” Gruden said. “The biggest thing is, when the lights come on, how do you perform when the pressure is on. People will be watching.”

The game will represent Gruden’s first as an NFL head coach, and he’s looking forward to it. But he wants things to run smoothly.

“I’ going to be excited, obviously, running out for the first time,” he said. ‘My No. 1 objective is to make sure to keep order on the sideline, make sure everybody is poised, make sure everybody is well-organized, everybody gets in that needs to get in. Butterflies will be there before the game. But once the game starts, man, it’s business, and the biggest thing is get our guys out there and let them perform, and try to find our best 53 moving forward.”

Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

What’s ahead:

The Redskins and Patriots open the preseason Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at FedEx Field. The game airs on NBC-4 and CSN, and The Insider will host an open thread for those who want to chat while they watch.

Also from The Post:

Garcon, Clark and Thomas out for preseason opener

Rambo still trying to find his way | Ex-coach Davis using experience to make team

Maske: Brady as driven as ever | Wise: Patriots take Redskins to school

Brady puts on a clinic | Observations from Day 13

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

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

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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