Atlanta Falcons: Peria Jerry performing well in Peters’ absence

081612 ATLANTA: Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry puts pressure on Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, August 16, 2012.      CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

081612 ATLANTA: Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry puts pressure on Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, August 16, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH — While coming off the field after another long practice, Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry was downright giddy on Monday.

He’s playing well and feeling good, finally.

The early signs of exhibition season are pointing toward Jerry, whose career with the Falcons has been marred by injuries, returning to the starting lineup and being productive.

“I’m feeling better than I have felt since my rookie year, but I’m just going to stay focused and keep working hard every day,” he said.

Jerry was the 24th player taken in the 2009 draft, two picks ahead of linebacker Clay Matthews and five picks ahead of wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. Matthews has been to three Pro Bowls and Nicks has had two 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Both have helped their respective teams win Super Bowl titles.

Jerry was projected to be one of the anchors to the Falcons’ run defense. He opened his rookie year as a starter. But in the second game he suffered a gruesome knee injury that knocked him out of the season.

Jerry has been battling to reclaim his form since. He played as a reserve in 2010 and had just nine tackles.

Last season, he was also a reserve in the defensive line rotation and had 10 tackles. His highlight as a Falcon came when he forced a Michael Vick fumble that helped the team rally to victory over the Eagles.

Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan doesn’t have a history with Jerry.

So, his expectations for the former first-round draft pick’s performance were not jaded by the slow start to his NFL career.

All Nolan cares about is that Jerry played pretty strong in two exhibition games and that the Falcons will count on him heavily early in the upcoming regular-season.

“I don’t know what the expectations from before were, but I’m glad that he’s doing like he has because he’s going to get called upon for a considerable amount early on,” Nolan said.

With defensive tackle Corey Peters, who started the past two seasons, out indefinitely with an undisclosed foot injury, Jerry is playing opposite of Jonathan Babineaux.

Jerry had three tackles and a tackle for a loss against Baltimore on Aug. 9. Against Cincinnati last Thursday, he had two tackles and one sack.

“Yeah, he’s done a nice job,” Nolan said. “He did a nice job the other day in the game. He’s done well. Somebody has to step up. [Vance] Walker was out for a couple of weeks. But, I would say thus far that we are pleased with P.J.”

One scout who has seen the Falcons four times this exhibition season noted that Jerry is playing much stronger.

“One of the biggest surprises that I’ve seen is that Peria Jerry is finally playing after three years,” said the scout, who’s encouraged by his team not to be quoted. “He’s finally making some plays.”

Jerry, 6-foot-2, 295 pounds, worked hard this offseason in order to return to the form that he flashed at Mississippi.

“I feel 100 percent right now and I’m thankful for that,” Jerry said. “I just stay focused and stayed on my same routine.”

Defensive line coach Ray Hamilton preached to Jerry about making sudden and violent moves in order to penetrate the opposition’s offensive line.

“He’s showing me when I’ve got good rushes and how I can make them even better by doing certain little things,” Jerry said. “You just try to work on those things when you’re going full speed.”

Jerry believes his hand placement and power are the keys to success in the NFL trenches.

“It’s just a combination of both, knowing where your hands are at and knowing where you’re opponents’ hands are,” Jerry said. “You are just trying to keep them off of your chest and not give them too much of your body to hit.”

Falcons coach Mike Smith has no firm timetable on when Peters will return from his foot injury. The team is expecting a medical update the last week of the exhibition season. If Peters is cleared, it’s unlikely he’ll immediately resume his starting duties.

“Right now, Corey is only working on the side [with the training staff] and only working in the training room basically in a rehabilitation mode,” Smith said.

Jerry made four starts last season and has just six career starts. The Falcons are hopeful that he can fulfill the promise that made him a first-round pick.

“We’ve seen his suddenness and play-making ability in the two preseason games,” Smith said. “He’s in the best shape that he’s been in. He’s really worked extremely hard.”

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56 comments Add your comment

Another Rick

August 20th, 2012
6:09 pm

Yes sir I am first!

Another Rick

August 20th, 2012
6:12 pm

Nice to see the PJ’s will be coming back on tv! Some of you dont get it….remember the show the PJ’s with Eddie Murphy as the voice of the Super….as the fat kid would say! Good to see they putting you back on PJ! Go getem son, you got two years worth of hurt for someone!

joja boi

August 20th, 2012
6:13 pm

Glad to hear he is feeling better and hopefully will be an invaluable piece to a “Super” run!

Cbuck

August 20th, 2012
6:36 pm

The Bills cut Merriman–Falcons sould sign.

Jesse

August 20th, 2012
6:50 pm

It’d be nice to have 3 quality DT when Peters comes back. Bab’s is probably on his way out in a year or two anyway.

SirReal

August 20th, 2012
6:51 pm

Glad to see Jerry coming into form! I think he’s ready to reclaim his spot. We need him this year.

@Cbuck WHY? That’s ridiculous…..lol

SirReal

August 20th, 2012
6:53 pm

I’m glad to see him coming on. When healthy, he seems like he could be a force in the middle.

@Cbuck WHY?!!! We dont need that guy….lol

fanATicaL

August 20th, 2012
6:55 pm

Cbuck thinking the same thing.If we presently have enough of a rotation to allow him to recover to 100%.Talk about a great defense driving to the playoffs.I hate to say it but definitely an upgrade over Petersen.

Another Rick

August 20th, 2012
6:59 pm

Pass on Merriman!

Dr J

August 20th, 2012
7:02 pm

We should have drafted Brandon Thompson (DT, Clemson)

El Snipero

August 20th, 2012
7:04 pm

Peria Jerry’s recovery and good play could not have possibly come at a better time for the Falcons. That said, there is the wariness of him and his injury history. Let’s pray that doesn’t come back up. We need him to start giving pressure up the middle against the Cam Newton, Josh Freeman, and Drew Brees crowd.

MaxxFalcon

August 20th, 2012
7:28 pm

Just in time Peria! Redemption season!

rainman

August 20th, 2012
7:48 pm

It’s hard to accept that all the Falcons will say about Peters – even after all this time – is that he is out indefinitely with an
undisclosed foot injury! Throw us a bone!

Bird Brain

August 20th, 2012
8:00 pm

I’m not sure if this was a TD bust or McKay bust or both bust pick but they must not have watched the senior all star game like I did where he was a non-factor in that game against equal talent with two good knees and I was thinking the whole game that this kid was overrated. All the Experts picked Clay Mathews for the Falcons that year except for TD or McKay…so… another what if. Also, our 2 and 3 team is terrible due to lack of talent selection in the last few years so now we have no depth. At least we got a great 1st string team.

falCANS

August 20th, 2012
8:13 pm

Eh, glad heis steppin up but ima Corey Peters guy sooooo……

Ken

August 20th, 2012
8:26 pm

LOL on my!! I made a predicion after Jerry and few players were saying recently oh how good things about Jerry. i said every year we hear that same BS about jerry looking great. and next think you know the coaches start talking)Smith comments above) great about jerry. But when the season starts Jerry is back on the bench again.. oh my…

d

August 20th, 2012
8:29 pm

He was hustling and looked great. Even Joe Tess would agree.

D man

August 20th, 2012
8:53 pm

Glad to see him doing well. He will help us on defense this season with stopping the run and pressuring the QBs.

El Snipero

August 20th, 2012
9:22 pm

For all the Matt Ryan haters who hold onto memories of the guy we used to have and his playoff wins…

http://espn.go.com/nfl/

I’ll take the QB who can stay on the field and make the playoffs. You can have the clown that hurts his pinky in one wink, then can’t take a hit the next week. Hey, I thought this was football…..

Bird Brain

August 20th, 2012
9:32 pm

We should have drafted Brandon Boykin to return kicks/punts, special teams and back-up cornerback. He is pushing starters at Philly already and they got him in the 4th round. Who did we get? What’s he done?

Falcon James

August 20th, 2012
9:43 pm

I likes it. If Peria Jerry is truely back to form, and the report on Peters is good, we are going to have a solid defensive line. That is encouraging. Still have my doubts about the O-Line, but the reports are not that bad. We need to have a good showing Friday night. I don’t really care about a win. Just would like to see a strong performance and walk away with a feeling that we are ready when the season starts.

Eddog 45

August 20th, 2012
10:28 pm

T Robertson (R) is probley putting some heat on some of the DT’s. Some of the VET will not make the team if they don’t MAN-UP, including Jeery.

Surg

August 20th, 2012
11:16 pm

Never forgot that potential he flashed his first game ever in the dome…. He was a absolute monster until he got injured. I was so freakin pissed. If he can get back to that form? Oh my goodness. At his very best he is far, far more explosive than Corey Peters, can penetrate and stop plays in the back field. If Ray does his job and helps him improve on his already sound fundamentals and techniques… He will make our run d and pass rush even better with him and Corey while bringing in Jonathan B. on 3rd down.

Just Wing It

August 20th, 2012
11:58 pm

played good until a 15 yard penalty on the Cincy qb

Jerry Glanville

August 21st, 2012
12:12 am

I will wait to get NomoreEggcusis aka joetessfishbreath,, aka camaro joe,, aka stb4, take on Peria,, that man is a genious

Jerry Glanville

August 21st, 2012
12:13 am

Fist round bust and ijery Prune,, just sayin,, go flacons,,

Gray Mule

August 21st, 2012
6:41 am

Football games are mostly won and lost by the hogs in the trenches.
All the credit goes to the other players but these are the guys who
make it happen.
That great run was made because someone opened the hole. That
great pass was made because the line gave the QB time to throw the pass.
On the other hand, that run didn’t happen because someone in the line
for the defense plugged the hole and stopped the run.
Likewise, the DL put too much pressure on the QB and he didn’t have time
to complete that pass.
Posters here say, “Great starting line. Weak backup.” That’s not good.

Gray Mule

Mike is Back

August 21st, 2012
7:53 am

Yeah DL, I saw him show some flash…and I read where he was having a Great camp…so I’m happy for him…I will admit to being one of his detractors in the past.

The BIRDS can certainly use that push in the middle.

GO BIRDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PMC

August 21st, 2012
9:02 am

I’ll take headlines that shouldn’t have to be written for 1st round picks Alex.

SimpleDawg

August 21st, 2012
9:10 am

PJ needs to make the most of this opportunity and fulfill his potential.

[...] up to his first-round draft status since arriving in Atlanta in 2009, not by a long shot. But the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote Monday that Jerry looks great and is playing well as he fills in for an injured Corey [...]

Mikey

August 21st, 2012
11:08 am

PJ’s strong play in the trenches has been evident so far this pre-season. It is great to see him back to full health and I hope he can stay that way. He is a force to be reckoned with when he is healthy. He gives us a very strong D-Line with lots of depth. Thanks for hanging in there PJ and keep up the good work. It is noticeable! My best to Corey Peters too for a quick and full recovery. Both of these big, strong men will get plenty of opportunity to help our team during the upcoming season. GO FALCONS!

No more eggcuses 4 Perrier Jerry

August 21st, 2012
12:30 pm

Ill see it when I beleive it. Perrier Jerry has and is been still a bust. He was drafted in the first round and has yet 2 make an impact ecxpect maybe in the lunch room! LOLOLO!! Sirussoly he has not paned out. The injruy was 2009. It didnt take Wes Wekler that long 2 recover. Perrier Jerry is milkin the Flacons 4 money. He has a grate contarct year so he can sigh a bigger contract. U just waite N see. Flacons will make a misteak if they resigh him.

No more eggcuses 4 Perrier Jerry

August 21st, 2012
12:32 pm

Readin the coments I can see U all are brianwashed in 2 thinging he has inproved. Im laffing at U all.

Ken

August 21st, 2012
12:48 pm

Hi no more i guess you didnt read my comments!

FalconFANatic

August 21st, 2012
1:01 pm

Wes Welker isn’t 295 pounds…

First time Season Tix Holder

August 21st, 2012
1:31 pm

LOL At The Aints

August 21st, 2012
1:40 pm

And we are ;laughing at you Joe Tess,,,,LOL

No more eggcuses 4 Perrier Jerry

August 21st, 2012
1:41 pm

Sory Ken I mised your reply.

@ Flaconfantic. Yeah I agree Wes Wekler is not fat n lazy!

AS far as the oters well U all need 2 learn more about how the caoch and team can BS U all. Even if he is beter this year remeber he was a fist round draft pix and shold contribute within the first 2 years. Perrier Jerry has not.

Surg

August 21st, 2012
1:46 pm

A DT uses their knees a lot more than WR, I mean Wes’s speed took a big hit, a lot of a dt’s power comes from their legs. You can’t expect a guy who had a injury that serious in their rookie year to come in and play at a pro bowl level damn be realistic. He’s getting a feel for the game back, the old coaches dIdnt even give him a chance last year. I hate to say it but the Peters injury was the best thing that happened for Jerry. Gets to see more field action and he will take advantage.

No more eggcuses 4 Perrier Jerry

August 21st, 2012
1:54 pm

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH

Thats all I reed from the above post.

NO MORE EGCUSES

It time he show up and paly.

Joe Tess Fish House

August 21st, 2012
1:57 pm

Flacons never learn

August 21st, 2012
2:07 pm

It says he is preforming well. Well is not the good or grate the team excepts form him as he is a first round pix.

Surg U R out of UR mind to say anoter palyers injruy is a good thing. It deos not mater if he was hurt R not he was still a fist round pix that has not palyed like one. Why is that so hard to undersand?

Surg

August 21st, 2012
2:53 pm

It is for a player with potential like Jerry who got ignored off the face on the damn earth because of a SERIOUS knee injury that some players NEVER bounce back from. He was never given a chance after that injury until now. Look what he is doing in the preseason games. He’s getting more of his burst back game after game. He was written off before the preseason started, with Peters injured he has stepped up big time to the point we don’t have to rush Corey back. If he keeps getting better we could start him along with Peters and use Jonathan B. on pass rushing situations. I’m not happy that Peters I never cheer for injury. I cheer for opportunity. Jerry deserves one in what could be his final year as a Falcon. I hope he’s one of the players we keep. So I will be rooting for him whether ‘No More’ likes it or not. Why root for a player on your team to fail when we need him to succeed?

No more eggcuses 4 Perrier Jerry

August 21st, 2012
3:38 pm

BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH

The Flacons give him lots of oppurtunitys. He is stil on the team. they could of had cut him last year. so yeha they gave him a cahnce before this year. U need 2 learn more about footbal B 4 you come here and posat a gain.

Surg

August 21st, 2012
3:51 pm

You need to learn more about how a player’s mind actually works, recognizing talent, acknowledging talent, developing talent, a defensive tackles’ purpose in a 4-3, and how to be a fan of the game without calling for a player’s head. This man has made strides, yeah it took a while but we need all the depth on defense if we are to make a run. He has stepped up at the right time. We need to make a run THIS YEAR!!!

No more eggcuses 4 Perrier Jerry

August 21st, 2012
4:10 pm

U dont no how 2 take advice. I done told U 2 lean more about footbal B 4 you post again.

Surg

August 21st, 2012
6:18 pm

Lol I’m done

[...] lost offensive tackle Will Svitek (Svee-tech) to a season-ending right arm injury. more… Atlanta Falcons: Peria Jerry performing well in Peters’ absence – blogs.ajc.com 08/20/2012 081612 ATLANTA: Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry puts pressure [...]

[...] 20: DOL reveals that Peters is still out, the nature of the foot injury has not been disclosed and Peters still has no timetable for [...]