WASHINGTON (AP) - Robert Griffin III's to-do list will be pretty simple when the Washington Redskins host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday night.
"Run with the rest of the guys before the game so we can make sure we stay in shape," the Redskins rookie quarterback said. "Watch Tampa. Mostly just watch and support those guys and just see how those guys step up in this big moment because a lot of guys are fighting for jobs."
Washington coach Mike Shanahan typically rests most, if not all, of his projected regular season starters in the final preseason game, and this year is no exception. Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano has indicated he might do the same, which means it's probably a good thing that tickets for this game don't come with a money-back guarantee for any fans not completely satisfied.
Yet, for the players who do suit up, the hits will still be hard and the effort surely won't be lacking. The second-, third- and fourth-stringers vying to make the regular season squad will be getting one last chance to make a case. NFL rosters must from cut from 75 players to 53 on Friday.
"It's not a day off for me," Redskins linebacker Rob Jackson said. "When you're at practice, you practice, but sometimes your mind might not be there. But if you're in the game, you're in the game. You try and make plays, you try to do the right thing. You don't take it lightly."
Jackson has been through this enough times to know the drill. He's been cut twice and had two stints on the practice squad since the Redskins (No. 25 in the AP Pro32) drafted him in the seventh round in 2008. He's played in parts of four seasons but has never started a regular season game. Don't tell him he's a good bet to make the roster.
"You can't never really feel secure. I don't feel secure," he said. "I feel like if you're playing in the fourth preseason game, you're playing in the fourth preseason game for a reason. If you were secure, you wouldn't be playing."
There are some exceptions. There's no doubt that fourth-round Kirk Cousins will make the Redskins' roster, and he will get the start at quarterback while Griffin sits idle. Evan Royster, one of the contenders for the starting running back job, is expected to get some carries after missing last week's game with a sore right knee.
The Buccaneers (No. 26, AP Pro32) also had a running back competition in preseason, but that seems to be settled with first-round pick Doug Martin coming out ahead of LeGarrette Blount. Martin ran for 53 yards Friday against the New England Patriots.
"That's why he started the game. He had showed me that much," Schiano said. "And I don't think he did anything to show that wasn't a good move. I thought he ran the ball well and did some things well. Right now he's just got to continue on that course. He's learning every day."
While the roster wannabes tick away the final minutes of preseason, Griffin will experience the new sensation of getting to watch from the sidelines because he's secure in his employment. The Heisman Trophy winner witnessed his first cut-down day Monday when the rosters were trimmed from 90 to 75, and he found it sobering.
"Talking to the vets, they say you'll get used to seeing faces disappear," Griffin said. "I don't know if I'll ever get used to that. Hopefully not. It's just tough. Those guys are all fighting for a job, fighting for a livelihood."
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