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D. Orlando LedbetterD. Orlando Ledbetter

Jerry must earn a spot in the rotation

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Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)
FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry, who re-signed with the team instead of venturing in free agency over the offseason, figures that there’s still a role for him in the team’s rotation.

Jerry watched as the Falcons signed defensive tackle Paul Soliai and defensive end Tyson Jackson this offseason.

“Yeah, I mean, we picked up a couple bigger guys on the front,” said Jerry, the team’s first-round pick in 2009. “So, we’re looking forward to see how things pan out.”

The Falcons used Jerry at tackle in the 4-3 and end in the 3-4 last season. He played in all 16 games and made 14 starts. He finished with 33 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

Falcons coach Mike Smith said he hopes to have a two-deep rotation along the defensive line in 2014.

“I kind of feel like they are still going to play me the same way as they did,” Jerry said. “We’ll see how that turns out.”

Jerry knows that he’ll have to earn his snaps.

“You better have fire in your stomach every year, because there are younger and faster guys coming in each year,” Jerry said. “You have to be prepared for that.”

Jerry, 29, is fully recovered from a knee sprain he suffered in the regular season finale.

“I feel real good,” Jerry said. “I’m real comfortable with myself. I just have to come out and try to prove myself. We are just going to see what happens.”

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