According to a report from the Falcons Jay Adams, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan didn’t expect a whole lot of defensive tackle Peria Jerry coming into camp. Why would he? He had never had any real contact with Jerry. All that he knew about the man was that he suffered an injury extremely early in his career, and hasn’t been the same guy since. In Nolan’s own words, his expectation for Jerry were ‘in limbo’ coming into camp.
Now that Jerry is healthy and ready to be a productive member of the team, he seems to have flourished under the tutelage of Nolan. Last season Jerry couldn’t generate any push up the middle, was never getting the the quarterback, and was generally unproductive. This preseason he has been very, very good.
That’s really good news. Nolan, Coach Smith, the defense, and all of Atlanta are depending on him to produce while defensive tackle Corey Peters is out for the first six weeks of the season with a foot injury. Obviously he is going to get the starting time next to Jonathan Babineaux. If he is as productive as he was in the pre-season, it should really offset the lack of Peters.
People often wonder whether or not an offense or defense will hold things back in preseason games so as to not tip their hand for the regular season. Dirk Koetter absolutely confirmed that. While it can be a little frightening running plays that you haven’t necessarily tested against a live defense, Koetter had this to say:
You’ve got that little fear of the unknown, but you’ve just got to put your players out there, give them the tools to play fast and just trust that your guys can make plays.
Amen. I know all of us would like to have seen more of the deep passing game. However, I think that we saw just a hint of it that we all wanted to see from that. A deep 9-route to Julio Jones down the right sideline against the Ravens was the extent of that, but its exactly what we needed to do to test what needed to be tested. I suppose that once we saw what we needed to see, that was enough for the coaching staff, and they decided to shut that element of the offense down.
To say I am excited about the unveiling of this offense and defense would be a tremendous understatement. I am so fired up for this game against the Chiefs, it’s unbelievable.