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Jaguars haven't decided on how much starters will play vs. Redskins

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley says he's not quite sure yet how much work the first-team offense and defense will get in the team's final preseason game on Thursday night against Washington.

Typically the starters play a drive or two and then the game is turned over to the backups and players fighting for roster spots. Some teams, however, have chosen to sit the starters, and that may very well be what Bradley decides in the next day or so.

"I think what we’ll look at is the total number of plays," Bradley said. "Our first-team offense has had a lot of plays so far in the preseason. I think that will go into consideration to how much they’ll play going into this game. Same defensively, not as many players as the first-team offense, but we’ll look at their play count compared to what they’ve had in the past.”

Quarterback Blake Bortles has played 113 snaps in the three preseason games, including 54 against the Detroit Lions last Friday night. It's harder to pinpoint the exact totals for the first-team defense because of so many situational substitutions (third-down packages, blitzes, etc.) but the starters have played approximately 75 snaps.

Bradley shouldn't need any prodding to keep the starters on the bench against the Redskins, especially when he looks at what happened in the first three preseason games. Four starters and one key player suffered injuries that are keeping them off the field:

  • TE Julius Thomas (hand) and SS Johnathan Cyprien (finger) suffered injuries against Pittsburgh that shelved them for the entire preseason. The Jaguars say they'll be ready for Week 1.

  • CB Demetrius McCray (knee) and LB LaRoy Reynolds (knee), the team's best special-teams player, were hurt against the New York Giants. Reynolds was still on crutches this weekend.

  • DE Andre Branch suffered a sprained left MCL against Detroit and will miss "significant" time.

Because of those injuries and the high number of snaps the first-team offense has played, it would be wise for Bradley to keep the starters on the bench against the Redskins.