Quarterback Mark Rypien, wearing sweat pants and a long-sleeved shirt, ventured onto the practice field for the first time since injuring his left knee five weeks ago against the Dallas Cowboys.

Rypien ran straight ahead, made cuts, then threw a few passes. He said everything went well and that the next big test will come this morning when he checks the soreness and swelling in the knee.

His goal is to return to full practices next week and perhaps be in uniform Nov. 12 when the Redskins play a Monday night game in Philadelphia. Much will depend on how the knee feels and how much strength he has lost in the leg. Doctors and trainers apparently have targeted Thanksgiving Day in Dallas as perhaps a more realistic return.

"It didn't feel too bad," Rypien said. "I'll just take it day by day this week and make decisions as we go along. I don't want to mess up the trainers or anything. They've done a great job. But I do feel I know my body better than anyone else, so we'll take it from there."

He wore a knee brace during the work and said he felt "no pain. I favored it some on the rollouts, but that's to be expected. It's not like I have to rely on my legs. Speed was never my greatest asset. I just need to get to the point where I can move around and be effective."

Rypien said he realizes that if Stan Humphries is still struggling, his return to practice will create yet another Redskins quarterback controversy. "I want to play, sure I do," he said. "But if I don't, I'm not going to pout about it. If Stan is going well, I'm going to be his biggest fan. That's what this is all about. There are a lot of considerations about when I come back. There'll have to be a roster move made and I'll go along with whatever the coaches decide."Williams Earns a Start

Line coach Torgy Torgeson said Eric Williams "probably" will start at left defensive tackle Sunday in Detroit. Tracy Rocker played only the first two series Sunday in New York; Williams went the rest of the way.

Williams was credited with 14 tackles, and Coach Joe Gibbs said, "Torgy wanted to play him, and he got him in there and he started playing great and didn't come out." Corraling the Posse

The Posse -- wide receivers Art Monk, Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders -- had its lowest regular season output ever, catching only four passes Sunday. Humphries had 19 completions to tight ends or running backs.

Their previous low was five, in Week 8 of the 1988 season and Week 10 of the 1986 season. In the 1987 NFC championship game, the Posse had three catches, all by Clark, in a 17-10 victory over the Vikings.

Gibbs said the Giants' soft secondary coverage had much to do with the Redskins' inability to throw the ball downfield. "You've got to throw where the fewest number of people are," he said. "If they play a four-deep zone and they flood the deep zone, you'd better not be throwing down into it. You get the cracks and seams but you have to go underneath." . . .

Sanders's court hearing in Houston was delayed a day when he couldn't get to Texas by the 8 a.m. appearance time. He'll appear today before Harris County Judge Donald Shipley in connection with charges stemming from a May 1 incident in the parking lot of a Houston bar. His attorneys are hoping he won't have to stand trial until after the season.