Cornerback Cary Williams, a presumed starter, is excused this week after getting married this past weekend. Williams signed a three-year, $17 million contract this offseason. Kelly expects him back next week.
Williams' absence opened a spot for Curtis Marsh, a 2011 third-round pick who's been unproductive during his first two seasons. Marsh didn't know where he'd line up had Williams been present, but he wanted to maximize his time with the starters.
"All I know is I was out with the first-team today," Marsh said. "I love it. One of my favorite things to do is compete. Just like you saw, on a couple plays, we're not supposed to go to the ground, not supposed to contact, but it's hard. I have one speed and I want to compete."
Marsh is 6-foot-1 and 197 pounds and has the long frame that Kelly desires in a defensive back. Kelly said he's seen on film that Marsh has "made some plays," although there really isn't an expansive track record. The best news for Marsh is probably a fresh start with a new coaching staff.
"It's all I want," Marsh said. "It's all I'm thinking about. When I'm home, I'm watching film. The whole offseason, I spent most of the time here, training here. I changed my diet, everything. Every little thing I could do to get better to prove to these coaches that I'm the best."
Bradley Fletcher, a free-agent acquisition, was the other first-team cornerback. Free agent signee Patrick Chung and four-year veteran Nate Allen were the starters at safety.