FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Defensive tackle Corey Peters was on the practice field Monday for the Atlanta Falcons, but his status for Sunday's season opener against the rival New Orleans Saints remains unclear.
Peters didn't play in any preseason games as he continued to recover from last December's Achilles tear, suffered against the San Francisco 49ers. Peters expressed hope about being able to return to game action this week, but coach Mike Smith wouldn't commit to such just yet.
"We're not set on what we're going to do with Corey,'' Smith said. "Corey is going to have really his second padded practice on Wednesday. But he's done everything that we've asked. And we'll make a determination on Wednesday after he's had a really full, full workload this week.''
Peters was a key figure in two close games against the Saints last season with eight tackles, a sack, a tackle for a loss and a quarterback hit. The Falcons lost both games by scores of 23-17 and 17-13.
Both right guard Jon Asamoah and rookie safety Dez Southward practiced Monday coming off injuries. Asamoah had been slowed by a minor groin injury, while Southward was cleared coming off a concussion.
"We're going to be in pretty good shape,'' Smith said of the health of his team. "The injury report will come out on Wednesday. But we had good participation in practice today. I'll say that.''
The first part of practice was devoted to special teams and newly added linebacker Nate Stupar got plenty of work. He showed the ability to hustle down the field and make a play, which is why the Falcons claimed him off waivers from Jacksonville.
"He's an inside linebacker that has a lot of special-teams experience,'' Smith said. "And we felt like he was going to give us a better 53-man roster and gives us a little bit more flexibility.''
Veteran defensive lineman Cliff Matthews was another player doing a lot of running up and down on special teams, which speaks to why he was viewed as a necessary part of the 53-man roster.