According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter, Atlanta Falcons starting defensive tackle Corey Peters suffered a foot injury this offseason that will keep him out until the start of training camp in July.
While that doesn't seem to be too much cause for concern, seeing as the injury shouldn’t cause him to miss any games this season, it may have far-reaching implications for his backup Peria Jerry. That’s because Ledbetter says he’s the one set to step in for Peters as he recovers:
With Peters set to miss the rest of the organized team activities and the mandatory minicamp (June 19-21), defensive tackle Peria Jerry will pick up most of his work alongside Jonathan Babineaux.
A first-round pick for the Falcons in 2009, Jerry has had difficulty living up to expectations, after missing nearly his entire rookie season to injury. He didn’t start a single game in 2010, though he did earn a few more snaps last season, but he has little to show for it.
Jerry was given a small window of opportunity last year when he started in Atlanta’s second preseason game after Peters suffered a knee injury in practice that August. But he was soon relegated back to his reserve role when Peters returned the following week.
This time around, it may be Jerry who has the upper hand heading into the season.
With the Falcons undergoing a regime change on defense as new coordinator Mike Nolan takes over for Brian VanGorder, this time of the year is primarily used to install new schemes and put fresh philosophies into practice. That means it’ll be Jerry, not Peters, who will get the chance to give coaches a first look at what he can do on the field and possibly make his case for a more significant role on the team in 2012.
Considering that Jerry is entering his fourth season in the league, coupled with the Falcons’ addition of Travian Robertson via this year’s NFL draft, it may very well be the last chance he gets.