MagnusXXIII Posted August 26, 2010 Share Posted August 26, 2010 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 backfieldRunning 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." Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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