richardcrawford Richard Crawford watches Tampa Bay’s Solomon Patton catch a pass, which he ran in for a touchdown during Thursday night’s preseason finale. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

The Redskins on Friday afternoon began cutting players as they work to slash the roster from 75 to 53 players by the league’s 4 p.m. deadline on Saturday.

Third-year cornerback Richard Crawford, first-year safety Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith and guard/center Tevita Stevens ranked among the first players released, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation.

The team also has released rookie tight end Ted Bolser, according to a report from ESPN.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden said Thursday night that he anticipated making some cuts Friday afternoon and evening, and then wrapping up the roster moves on Saturday.

Crawford had seemed like a long shot to make the roster at a crowded position led by starters DeAngelo Hall and David Amerson, top nickelback E.J. Biggers, veteran Tracy Porter and promising rookie Bashaud Breeland.

Washington drafted Crawford in the seventh round of the 2012 draft. He excelled as a punt returner his rookie year, but then missed all of his second season with torn multiple ligaments in his left knee during the preseason of 2013. Crawford had struggled to make an impact this preseason.

Cromartie-Smith joined Washington midway through training camp and had to play catch-up while also battling for a roster spot.

Stevens spent last season on Washington’s practice squad and played as a backup center and guard this preseason.

Bolser faced long odds to make the roster with three veteran players at his position in Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul. He, like Stevens, Crawford and Cromartie-Smith, has practice squad eligibility.

Update 4:43 p.m.: Per Liz Clarke, the Redskins also have released Kevin Kowalski, who started last night’s game at center and also had seen playing time as a guard on the third team.

Update 6:10 p.m.: Per the team, the Redskins also released receiver Lee Doss, punter Robert Malone and nose tackle Robert Thomas.

Follow Mike Jones and Liz Clarke on Twitter for up-to-the minute news on cuts. For all Insider posts involving roster moves, click here. The roster itself is here. For the league-wide transaction wire, click here.