Give Reed Doughty credit for one thing — his preseason debuts always are memorable.
Last year as a rookie safety with the Washington Redskins, he was beat on a flea-flicker by Cincinnati for a 52-yard gain. Last week against Tennessee, he collided with teammate Lorenzo Alexander. One problem: Alexander wasn't wearing his helmet and sustained a gash on his chin.
"I didn't know I hit him until I was jogging off the field," Doughty said. "Lorenzo took it pretty well. He knows I didn't mean to hit him, but I felt pretty bad about it."
Conversely, Doughty feels pretty good about the first three weeks of his second training camp. A sixth-round pick from Northern Colorado last year, he's in a fight to make the team as a reserve.
"It's like night and day — and I feel like I'm making more plays and fewer mental errors," he said. "The game has definitely slowed down. Hopefully that will keep translating to the field."
Doughty played in 10 games last year, making 11 defensive and special teams tackles. His performance on the coverage teams will be key during the preseason. Doughty is likely competing with Vernon Fox for the fifth safety spot because Sean Taylor, LaRon Landry, Pierson Prioleau and Omar Stoutmire are locks.
Doughty's first season was an ordeal after his son Micah was born in late August with kidney problems that have him on dialysis.
"He's crawling, and developmentally he's fine," Reed said. "They're working on his eating, but he's small and doesn't like to eat. They think it's maybe because of the fluids from the dialysis."
Doughty said his wife, Katie, "most likely" will donate one of her kidneys to Micah for a transplant in January or February. If Katie isn't a match, Micah will be placed on a transplant list.
"It's still tough to [separate football and family] because even when he gets his transplant, it's not a total cure, so he'll have ongoing medical needs," he said. "But we've learned to deal with it, have got a good routine and my wife is awesome."
Samuels runs around
Left tackle Chris Samuels, recovering from a sprained medial collateral ligament, did some light jogging on the field as the team practiced.
"I've been on vacation long enough," he said. "I'm anxious to get out there and start practicing."
Samuels' status for the final preseason game at Jacksonville — which would be four-plus weeks after his injury — is unknown. The next step is putting on pads and doing individual drills in practice.
Left guard Todd Wade (shoulder) and defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery (knee) are questionable for Saturday's game against Pittsburgh. If Wade can't play, Mike Pucillo would start.
Running back Rock Cartwright (hamstring), left tackle Stephon Heyer (hamstring) and receiver Antwaan Randle El (quadriceps) did limited work but are expected to play.
Randle El hopes to take part in the full 90-minute practice today.
By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
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