It’s always seemed like the Falcons have need at more than one position on both offensive and defensive line. Maybe that is simply the way life always goes in the NFL, and every team experiences it. Some teams have no o-line, but a great d-line. Some have an All-Pro offense that lines up in the trenches while they roll out nobodies on the d-line. It has been well documented that teams who are successful in the trenches are successful overall, or can overcome deficiencies in other areas as a result of strong lines. The Falcons have a hole at Center or Guard and Left Tackle on the o-line, and need a great pass rushing DE and a solid D-Tackle to make their line outstanding. I have gone into great depth about the O-line for months and will continue to in the future. Today I will address Peria Jerry, our veteran DT, who has yet to live up to his draft billing.
Jerry was taken in the 1st round, 24th overall, in the 2009 NFL Draft. He was expected to be a future cornerstone of the Falcons’ defensive, a good pass rusher and run defender, who could play alongside Jonathan Babineaux. Babineaux was in his prime at this point, and the Falcons looked to have one of the most stout interior defensive lines in the NFL.
Then came the injury bug. Jerry hasn’t been the same since. In three seasons with the Falcons, Jerry has only started 6 games, made 20 tackles, and registered only 2.0 sacks. Sure he has been injured, but even when available for the Falcons for an entire season the way he was in 2011, Jerry remained very ineffective.
Can we expect more out of Jerry? At this stage I would say no. He has proven to be often injured, and inept when actually on the field. However he does have a potential for being a quality producer for this team in 2012 and the future. Anything Jerry brings to the table will be gravy compared to the minimal amount that he has in the past three seasons. Also, add in the fact that Jonathan Babineaux in truly not getting any younger, and the Falcons could stand to use a player like Jerry who could step in and spell Babineaux for stretches at a time, or even replace him in the not so distant future. If nothing else, he could be a holdover until the Falcons draft another DT, the one who can take the spot next to Corey Peters as the DT of the future for the Falcons.
What are your thoughts, expectations, and reasonable hopes for Jerry in the 2012 season and going foreward?