There were a few absentee players at Tuesday's practices. Rookie fourth-round pick Dwayne Wright missed both the morning walk-through and the padded afternoon practice.
"Dwayne had an allergic reaction to something he ate," said head coach Dick Jauron. "His face was swollen, so we took him to the hospital. They'll keep him there for 10 to 12 hours and then we feel he'll be released and will be back practicing tomorrow."
Wright had the bad reaction this morning.
"He's okay and that was our first concern."
Aaron Merz, who sat out last night's practice with a shoulder problem was present for the morning walk through Tuesday, but did not make it out to the afternoon session.
"Aaron had an MRI on his shoulder, so we should know a little more about that as we move along," said Jauron.
The results of the MRI could impact whether or not Merz plays in Friday's first preseason game at New Orleans.
Defensive end Anthony Hargrove was not in attendance at both practices Tuesday as he attended to his legal matters.
"Anthony Hargrove was excused from practice and he was meeting with his lawyers," said Jauron. "We thought he might get back in time, but he just missed it. He got here right at the end of our practice session."
Brad Butler, Josh Scobey and Donte Whitner were spectators at practice. Whitner's injury (lower abdomen) was not thought to be serious, but Jauron indicated that it's possible the strong safety could miss Friday's preseason contest.
"There's a chance," Jauron said. "We're optimistic, but we'll have to wait and see."
Taking Whitner's reps with the first team defense has been Jim Leonhard. Currently the second string strong and free safety, Leonhard is expected to have a bigger role this season in the subpackages.
"Jimmy is just a tremendous player," said Jauron. "He's just a guy that's probably been told at every level he played that he wasn't big enough to play and he just excels every time he gets on the field. He played in one of the best college conferences in the nation and he excelled there. He came to the NFL and he excels whenever he gets on the field here. A terrific student of the game."
With Leonhard bumped up to first team, rookie free agent Trevor Hooper got an opportunity to play free safety with the second unit with George Wilson.
Starters will get 10-15 plays Friday
Head coach Dick Jauron gave an early indication as to the amount of playing time for the first preseason game.
"We know our first group will play somewhere between 10 and 15 plays," said Jauron. "And then after that we're not certain how it will play itself out."
Jauron said he's leaning toward having Craig Nall come in and play after Losman with Trent Edwards to follow.
"I'm inclined to think that Craig will go second and play a little, and then Trent will get most of the rest. It's not etched in stone, we'll just have to see how we feel, but that's probably how it will go."
It appears that the coaching staff is trying to get Edwards up to speed on his play recognition as soon as possible. He's getting a few more reps than Nall each day in practice here and there and it sounds as if he'll also be getting more time in the game Friday night.
"He's got a very quick release," said Jauron of Edwards. "Generally he's accurate. He struggles some in recognition, but that's to be expected. He's very smart in the classroom and on the field. We're working on his reads and understanding what he has to do. He appears to be a player that does learn from day to day and hopefully mistakes won't be repeated."
During the run game segment it appeared as though the defensive line got the better of the line of scrimmage battle. On the first snap Larry Tripplett penetrated into the offensive backfield for a tackle for loss on Anthony Thomas. On the next play Chris Kelsay crashed down from the back side to make a 'would be' tackle at the line of scrimmage.
Marshawn Lynch did scoot through one hole to the left side for what would have been a big gainer, and Lynch was part of a well executed stretch play to the right side by the offensive line. But other than that there were mostly defensive plays made during this period.
Mario Haggan made a tackle at the line of scrimmage. Kyle Williams got pressure on J.P. Losman which helped lead to an incompletion. C.J. Ah You and Williams teamed up for a 'would be' tackle of Thomas at the line of scrimmage. Tim Anderson, Eric Powell and rookie free agent Corey Mace clogged up the middle to stop Fred Jackson near the line of scrimmage. And Powell had a tackle for loss on Shaud Williams.
"When you've got guys like Kyle Williams, Larry Tripplett and hopefully John McCargo will continue to come around and Tim Anderson, guys that are continually pushing the pocket and making running backs change their direction in the backfield, it allows us as defensive ends and linebackers to run to make TFLs in the backfield," said Kelsay. "Coach Bill Kollar has pointed it out throughout the camp and Perry Fewell has as well as far as our penetration in 9-on-7 and some of the team stations. We've done a very good job of that."
Early on J.P. Losman was just a hair off on his deep passes as he overthrew his receivers on a few occasions. He did connect with Sam Aiken on a nice over the shoulder catch down the left sideline.
Aiken had a good day receiving with five catches on the afternoon.
Trent Edwards had a couple of good throws, but was victimized by Eric Bassey as he telegraphed a pass. Bassey who was playing underneath coverage saw where Edwards wanted to go with the ball and sluffed off his assigned zone to retreat into the zone behind him where the ball was headed and made a leaping interception.
Lynch made some smooth receptions out of the backfield including one where he had to turn back to the quarterback to make the catch and then fluidly turned upfield all in one motion.
During the 7-on-7 portion of red zone work Losman hit Lee Evans, Lynch and Josh Reed for touchdowns as he went 4-4 passing on his reps. Losman had to gun the last touchdown to pass to Reed in between a pair of defenders.
In the 11-on-11 period it looked like Losman had a touchdown throw to Peerless Price, similar to the one they had to win the game in Houston last season, but Jason Webster came in at the last second and knocked the ball from Price's hands.
During this segment there were a lot of intermediate completions with Aiken, Roscoe Parrish and Josh Reed the most involved.
The offense had a couple of very well executed run plays. On a play to the right side Lynch ran patiently behind a pulling Derrick Dockery and Langston Walker. He had to be patient since he likely couldn't see anything in front of his two linemen.
Walker also looked very good on a run play left when he pulled all the way from his right tackle spot to lead Lynch around the left side. Seeing a man that big move that effectively is unusual.
Kyle Williams had a pass pressure that led to an incompletion. Roscoe Parrish had a couple of receptions during the segment.
The right guard rotation between Jason Whittle and Duke Preston continues and despite offensive line coach Jim McNally's claim that he'd like to see a starting five up front sooner rather than later, Dick Jauron is in no hurry to name a starting group.
"I'm not in a big hurry to make a quick decision," said Jauron. "I just want to make the right decision. We have a number of guys that we feel are competitive enough and good enough to start so we'll let it play itself out."
With Whitner not factoring into the nickel packages in the slot, Ashton Youboty saw a significant number of reps inside in the subpackages. He ran second team behind top slot corner Kiwaukee Thomas.
That in turn enabled rookie free agent Riley Swanson to get some reps with the second team at right cornerback in the nickel package with Jabari Greer on the other side.