Andrus Peat is not sure whether he’ll be active for Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans.
But the rookie offensive tackle does know he feels a lot better than he has in weeks.
Peat, who sprained his MCL seven plays into the second start of his NFL career against Atlanta on Oct. 15, has been a full participant in both practices this week.
“Knocking the rust off a little bit after not practicing for almost three weeks,” Peat said. “But I’m starting to feel better with each passing day.”
Initially expected to miss three to four weeks, Peat is at the front edge of that schedule.
“I think it was supposed to be 3-4 weeks, and it’s three weeks today,” Peat said.
For Peat, the injury came at a frustrating moment. Making his second start of the season against Atlanta, he opened in a good rhythm, only to go down early.
“This is really my first injury besides an ankle sprain or something like that,” Peat said. “I got hit, and then I just went down and felt pain. I didn’t really know what it was. I just feel lucky it wasn’t serious.”
Now Peat hopes he can get his momentum back.
Ready to go
New Saints linebacker Mike Mohamed may hit the ground running in New Orleans.
Mohamed, signed earlier this week by the Saints, is already starting on all four special-teams units.
With that kind of responsibility on his plate, Mohamed might see his first action of the season right away.
“Anything can happen before game time, but I’m going in with the mindset that I’m going to play this week,” Mohamed said.
Mohamed isn’t sure where he’ll fit on defense yet. If he does see the field, Mohamed’s best strength is in pass coverage; he had six passes defended and an interception with the Texans.
New Orleans could theoretically use him as a buffer when Dannell Ellerbe, another solid coverage linebacker, is hurt.
“That was mainly my role in Houston,” Mohamed said. “That’s always been one of my strong suits. It’s something I work hard at.”
Happy to help
The Saints brought in Tim Hightower to replace Khiry Robinson’s spot in the backfield.
What isn’t clear yet is whether Hightower will replace Robinson’s role in the game plan.
Robinson, who was averaging 15.4 snaps per game this season, had a clear place in the Saints’ offense, averaging seven carries per game behind Mark Ingram.
“We’ll kind of see how the role develops,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “I do think generally a guy like him will have a little bit more juice in his step, and yet there are some things he has to pay close attention to — you know, getting into a live game, ball security, there are some things (for him to focus on) having not played since the preseason.”
Hightower, who rushed for 96 yards on 29 carries in the preseason, will play in his first NFL game since 2011 when he takes the field for the Saints.
“He practiced well yesterday,” Payton said. “You know, we’ll see how it kind of goes over the course of the game.”
Five Saints were not present at the portion of practice open to the media. Backup quarterback Luke McCown, linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha, linebacker Ramon Humber, Ellerbe and cornerback Damian Swann were not present at the practice.
Left tackle Terron Armstead, wide receiver Willie Snead, right guard Jahri Evans, wide receiver Marques Colston and defensive tackle Kevin Williams all returned to practice.
For the second straight day, cornerback Keenan Lewis, linebacker David Hawthorne and Peat all participated in practice.
The Saints brought fullback Austin Johnson back to the practice squad. Johnson, who had been with the team for the entire first half of the season, was released earlier this week to make space for Mohamed. Now Johnson will be able to bide his time. New Orleans released tackle Bryan Witzmann to make room on the practice squad.