Jump to content


Recommended Posts

By Jeff Haws

For the AJC

FLOWERY BRANCH -- Come Friday night, the defensive line finally will be intact.

The group of Jamaal Anderson, Jonathan Babineaux, John Abraham and Peria Jerry is one the Falcons haven't had together in the starting lineup since the second game of 2009, when Jerry's season ended with a knee injury.

It's still just an exhibition game Friday at Miami, but it's a big step for Jerry to get back onto the field and get some meaningful reps in game action for the first time in nearly a year.

"I'm very excited to get this opportunity to go out there and play," Jerry said. "I'm just going to go out and try to do my job. We'll see how everything goes from there."

Things seem likely to go better for the Falcons with everyone healthy on the defensive line. Getting a consistent pass rush was something the team struggled with last season, and it's tough to say how much Jerry's absence contributed to those difficulties.

But he said it has been a long road back, and he has learned a lot in the past year from his fellow linemen.

"[babineaux] and [Abraham], they've been really good teachers out there on the field," Jerry said. "I think it's going to be very successful with them. We've just got to go out there and work together, and I think everything will work out for us."

It's still going to be somewhat slow going for Jerry, though. Coach Mike Smith said he's not quite ready to throw the second-year tackle into too high a level of work right from the beginning Friday.

Jerry will start, though, and how he performs will go a long way to seeing just how far he has come in the past year.

"It'll be an opportunity for us to evaluate what Peria is," said Smith, who helped draft Jerry out of Ole Miss with the 24th pick of the 2009 draft. "This will be his first really full-speed action. He's worked extremely hard to get back into this position."

Back in the backfield

Running back Jerious Norwood will be on the field for the first time this exhibition season after sitting out the first two games and most of training camp with a hip flexor.

He's listed second on the depth chart behind Michael Turner and ahead of Jason Snelling, so he should see a significant number of snaps if he's able to go at full speed.

The hip flexor is a problem Norwood has repeatedly faced during his NFL career, and his lack of durability was a factor in some questioning whether the Falcons would bring him back this season.

Quarterback Matt Ryan said getting Norwood back into the fold will be good for the offense.

"I'm happy he's feeling well; he's worked hard during training camp," Ryan said. "Hopefully, we can keep him healthy this week and he can get some of that live speed back.

"But he's an experienced guy. He's been around here a long time and been in this offense for three years now. I expect him to come out and play well. He's not going to miss a beat."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yea then gets dinged up and sits out the rest of the game, rinse and repeat.

Here's how it usually happens. (for me, anyway...)

You're watching the game and Turner goes out for a breather. Norwood comes in and gets the ball on a delayed handoff or a sweep or whatever play that doesn't go for a lot of yards, if any. He gets tackled. It doesn't look as if the tackle was a bone-jarring hit, since Norwood usually sees it coming and avoids any major contact. Then Turner comes back in and does his thing until he either goes out for a breather or the formation doesn't call for him to be in. And then you sit there, expecting to see Norwood sooner or later...and then Snelling shows up in the backfield. Later on in the broadcast, the announcers say that Norwood is now being treated in the locker room with an undisclosed injury and is out for the game. Then you see him on the sideline without his pads, skinnin' and grinnin'. *sigh*

I swear, Norwood is our version of the Cheshire Cat. Cheshire_cat.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

if we stay healthy throughout the season much like the saints did last year other than that d lineman. I think we have a real shot to make the playoffs and go pretty deep. Douglas and Norwood could really surprise a lot of people by staying on the field and producing for us on a consistent basis.... If Matt comes into his own this year (and i fully expect him to). Look out NFC.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I bet Norwood comes out and lights it up and reminds everyone in Atlanta why we need him here.

Hope so. He wont be a Falcon after this season if he doesnt stay healthy. I am really rooting for him to be healthy and fast this season. Norwood has loads of talent, i'd hate to see it used on another team(if that team can keep him healthy).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...