Braylon Edwards participated in team drills Sunday for the first time this training camp and the first time since tearing his right ACL against Jacksonville last December.
Players were not in pads, but the fact Edwards was given the green light to go against defense for the first time is an encouraging sign he will be ready for the season opener against the Saints.
Edwards ran hard, showed acceleration beating Leigh Bodden to the ball on a slant pattern and at the end of practice made a tremendous leaping catch all the while keeping his feet in bounds at the back of the end zone.
"I don't have any pain or fear at all," Edwards said. "Just with that said, as a receiver it's hard to have an injury like this in terms planting, cutting, jumping, running, getting caught at the line by a D.B., change of direction?For me to be able to do all these things and not be bothered lets me know the knee is close.
"The knee feels good," Edwards said afterward. "If it didn't, they wouldn't let me practice. If the knee is ready Sept. 10, we're going to go. Possibility is definitely the word to use."
Coaches, doctors and trainers are still being cautious. Edwards won't play against the Eagles Thursday. When the team is in full pads Tuesday Coach Romeo Crennel said he might allow Edwards to go against DBs in individual drills but he is leaning toward holding Edwards out of 11-on-11 full pad workouts.
Switch for Hoffman: Andrew Hoffman, buried deep on the depth chart on the defensive line, was switched to offensive guard Sunday. Crennel said Hoffman has a guard's body at 6-4, 300 pounds.
Crennel suggested the idea to Hoffman Sunday morning. Hoffman, a sixth-round pick from Virginia in 2005, thought about it over lunch and then said he would switch.
"It was out of nowhere but, it gives me the chance to do something to help the team out. Hoffman said. "It was a little hectic. The coaches were right there helping me out and trying to let me know what the plays were even though I have never practiced them before. I made a few mistakes but I think that I had a pretty good first day.
Hoffman probably has a better chance of making the team on offense than he would have on defense.
D'Qwell will start: Linebacker Chaun Thompson has a strained calf muscle and did not practice Sunday. Crennel said there is an excellent chance rookie D'Qwell Jackson will start at inside linebacker against the Eagles.