JACKSONVILLE – Red remained a theme Tuesday, but there were healthy signs, too.
With the second game of the 2015 preseason drawing a day nearer, the Jaguars on Tuesday continued to use caution, working several front-line players in red, non-contact jerseys on a day that also featured a key rookie returning to practice.
Rashad Greene, a fifth-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft who is in the competition for the punt-returning job, returned to practice Tuesday after missing Monday with an Achilles issue. Reserve offensive tackle Brennan Williams also returned to practice.
Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said Greene performed well after resting an Achilles tendinitis issue since Friday's preseason-opening victory over Pittsburgh.
"We wanted to see if we took care of him for three days how he would respond," Bradley said early Tuesday afternoon after an two-hour, 20-minute practice in full pads at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness practice fields.
"Today, he practiced and he said he felt better than he has, so we're trying to figure out what works for him. Maybe those days off will clear everything up. But he got more reps today."
Bradley called Greene's practice Tuesday with three days rest "shocking."
"It really jumped out at us and we saw his speed again," Bradley said. "I think we are just trying to manage that.
Greene, who played collegiately at Florida State University, returned two punts for 42 yards against Pittsburgh and had a 37-yard punt return. He played just eight plays on offense.
"Hopefully he will play more reps in the game (Saturday)," Bradley said, adding, "He's done a great job in the slot area (offensively). We are trying to find ways to get him on the outside a little bit more."
Bradley said Tuesday's practice – the final full-padded practice of the week – featured a period of preparation for Saturday's preseason game against the New York Giants at Met Life Stadium, but that most of the Jaguars' practice focus continued to be on themselves.
"Again, still working more one's versus one's," he said, adding that the defense performed better in practice Tuesday than it did Monday.
Bradley said the defense performed well in 9-on-7 work, 1-on-1 work and in the final period of team-oriented work.
"We put the pressures at the end of the practice," Bradley said. "We knew that the guys might be tired there and just put them under a little bit more strain, so we had a good session there."
A theme continued to be the number of players in red, non-contact jerseys.
That list for a second consecutive day included not only rookie running back T.J. Yeldon, who has worked with a non-contact status since injuring a finger in an August 8 scrimmage, but rookie safety James Sample, safety Johnathan Cyprien and tight end Julius Thomas.
Sample returned to practice this week after starting camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list with a broken arm while Thomas (hand) and Cyprien (finger) sustained injuries in the preseason opener. Thomas and Cyprien are expected to miss the rest of the preseason while the goal is for Sample to play against the Detroit Lions at EverBank Field in the third preseason game.
Yeldon's status for Saturday is less clear, with Bradley on Tuesday calling it "still up in the air."
Also on Tuesday, wide receiver Marqise Lee, wide receiver Neal Sterling and cornerback Peyton Thompson remained out of practice with hamstring injuries and middle linebacker Paul Posluszny and tight end Marcedes Lewis had veterans days off.
Defensive end Jared Odrick (knee) and defensive tackle Roy Miller (knee) practiced for a second consecutive day, and defensive end Chris Clemons – moved from the active non-football injury list on Monday – practiced for a second consecutive day.
Also Tuesday, Bradley said he expects rookie linebacker Thurston Armbrister to play extensively at the reserve Otto position against the Giants, with veteran Jeremiah George likely working extensively at reserve middle linebacker.