In all honesty, the word ‘productive’ doesn’t come to mind when the name of Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry is brought up. As a matter of fact, it’s more like ‘done.’ Is that a fair assessment? When looking strictly at his performance, it’s the shoe that fits.
And that’s unfortunate.
From first-round draft pick in 2009 to where he is now, how the mighty DT has fallen. Injury is certainly the bane of Jerry’s existence, but is it the only reason he’s fallen so short of expectations? Only maybe. After the devastating knee injury in 2009, many questioned every season whether he would be able to make a comeback, return to glorify the promise that he demonstrated and finally live up to being that first-round pick. So far, the results haven’t been anything to write home about.
Being average may be okay in some situations. In the case of any member of the Falcons in this, the touted ‘Super Bowl or Bust’ season, average won’t cut it. With the likes of Travian Robertson waiting in the wings to show what he can do, to say that Jerry will have to step it up this year is a gross understatement.
That’s not to say that Jerry can’t make a comeback, and training camp would be a perfect opportunity to show that he’s ready to do just that. History, however, seems to indicate that he won’t. There were glimmers of hope in 2012; maybe he can capitalize and build on those glimmers to become the DT everyone hoped he would be when he was drafted in 2009.
Falcons head coach Mike Smith had faith that offensive tackle Sam Baker would work through—and past—his four seasons of inconsistency and injuries; Baker has done just that. Smith has shown that same faith in Jerry, but hopes aren’t high that Jerry will follow in Baker’s footsteps.
All things considered, this is Jerry’s last chance to shine as a Falcon. If he wants to remain a Falcon, 2013 had better be his best season ever.