- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 17, 2014

Five questions heading into the Redskins’ Monday night preseason game against Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns at FedEx Field.

1. How long will the starters play? Coach Jay Gruden said last week that he’s angling to get his starters approximately one quarter of work, but a few defensive players, including inside linebacker Keenan Robinson, played a few snaps after the rest of their teammates had left the game. It wouldn’t be shocking to see Robinson, and perhaps others, get a bit of extra work.

2. Will any of the running backs seize the third-string role? With Chris Thompson out of the competition for the time being after he sprained an ankle in the second quarter of the first preseason game, a strong performance against the Browns by Evan Royster, Lache Seastrunk or Silas Redd will go a long way toward ensuring they stick around for Week 1.

3. How will the offense look with DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon? The Redskins’ top two receivers missed the first preseason game because of a sprained left ankle and a strained hamstring, respectively, but they are both expected to face the Browns. Quarterback Robert Griffin III has struggled to get his timing down with Jackson, and it will be interesting to see how they look in a live game.

4. What can Phillip Thomas do? There’s a chance starting strong safety Brandon Meriweather won’t play after he missed practice on Thursday and Friday when blood pooled under one of his toenails. That could give Thomas, who hasn’t played in a game since the 2013 preseason opener last Aug. 8, a shot to show what he can do. The defense expects big things from Thomas, a rookie last season.

5. Can the defense handle Manziel? The rookie quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner will rotate snaps with the first team as he attempts to grab the Browns’ starting role. Known for his ability to keep plays alive with his feet, he’ll pose an interesting challenge for a Redskins defense whose primary mission this season is to rush the quarterback.

SEE ALSO: RG3 to Johnny Manziel: Be yourself, use fame for good

• Zac Boyer can be reached at zboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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