"That's going to be the issue throughout the preseason and using all four of the preseason games for the evaluations," special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said after Tuesday's practice. "We're starting to head toward trying to build some continuity with the guys playing next to one another, but until we get to the 53-man roster, there will still be some change involved."
While Slocum cautioned not to read too much into who's lining up with which units, the core members of those units are becoming clear. During Tuesday's practice, in which all four phases were practiced, linebacker D.J. Smith, tight ends Ryan Taylor and Tom Crabtree, running back John Kuhn and defensive back Jarrett Bush were No. 1s on all four units. Undrafted rookie linebacker Jamari Lattimore, safety Charlie Peprah and cornerback Pat Lee are No. 1s on three units. All of those players, with the exception of Lattimore, who has benefitted from injuries to Frank Zombo and Brad Jones, have been working with the No. 1s throughout training camp.
"It moves a lot by design," Slocum said of the depth chart. "There's so many factors involved: Play time is an issue, injury status is an issue. We have to shuffle guys around, particularly for evaluations. I may want to look at a guy with one particular group as opposed to the other. As I tell the players, don't worry about the first group of the third group. It's really not relevant. What's important is the fundamental work and we have an opportunity to evaluate it."
Here were the No. 1 units from Tuesday:
Smith, Lattimore, Taylor, Crabtree, Kuhn, Bush, Peprah, Lee, Williams, Burnett, Crosby (kicker).
Noteworthy: Smith, Lattimore, Taylor and Williams are rookies.
Smith, Taylor, Crabtree, Kuhn, Bush, Quarless, Underwood, Williams, Nelson, Wynn, Green (returner).
Noteworthy: Smith, Crabtree, Quarless and Williams are tight ends.
Smith, Lattimore, Taylor, Crabtree, Kuhn, Bush, Peprah, Lee, Burnett, Goode (snapper), Masthay (punter).
Noteworthy: Goode better not get hurt. His backup his Evan Dietrich-Smith, whose snaps gave Masthay a good workout. Kuhn has been the personal protector throughout camp.
Green, Smith, Lattimore, Taylor, Crabtree, Kuhn, Bush, Peprah, Lee, Shields, Cobb (returner).
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