By Michael Cunningham
Falcons defensive tackle Corey Peters practiced with the starting group today and could return to play against the Eagles on Sunday.
Peters returned to the practice field this week after rehabilitating a left foot injury he suffered during the offseason. The Falcons have three weeks to decide whether to add him to the active roster.
After participating in Monday’s practice with no contact, Peters increased his reps today.
“He’s progressed,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “He’s not in football shape. That’s going to be a big concern. We have to weigh that in as we make a decision [on] is it this week or next week [for Peters' return].”
Peters was injured prior to Atlanta’s offseason programs and so hadn’t participated in any football activities since January. But he said he hasn’t been holding back in his return.
“We are trying to go full speed,” Peters said before today’s practice. “We are going to do the best we can. I need to have it in my head that I’m back to normal, [that] everything is good. With a foot injury there’s always a little doubt in your head because you use it so much. I think we need to test it out and go full speed in practice and hopefully get my football legs under me as soon as possible.”
With Peters out of the lineup, the Falcons have essentially shortened their tackle rotation from four to three with Jonathan Babineaux (333 snaps), Peria Jerry (271) and Vance Walker (182). Smith said Babineaux in particular could use more relief.
“Jonathan has been very solid for us but we definitely need to get his snap count down,” Smith said.
If Peters plays this week, he will be tasked with trying to help contain Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and running back LeSean McCoy.
“This will be definitely a tough test but I am sure we will come up with some kind of plan to limit reps as we start off and ease our way back into it,” Peters said.