Atlanta Falcons DT Corey Peters Could Be Back Sunday, How Does He Impact?

Scott Carasik@ScottCarasikContributor IIOctober 22, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01:  Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushes upfield against Corey Peters #91 of the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on January 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Corey Peters could be back on Sunday. He could possibly even start for the Falcons this week against the Philadelphia Eagles

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter reports about the 6'3" 300-pound lineman through his Twitter feed:

@corypeters91 is excited about returning to practice today. He suffered the stress fracture while running this offseason.

— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@AJCFalcons) October 22, 2012

So now that Peters has started practicing, that's one step. The next is that he would have to be activated from the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list, and the Falcons would have to cut someone in order to get to the 53-man limit.

But those are just formalities, as it seems that the former Kentucky product should be ready to go. Peters has been quoted about watching the Falcons' hot start and being forced to sit out and not practice with the team (h/t D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution):

“It was very difficult,” Peters said about his solo workouts. “It was like that kid looking out the window because his Mom wouldn’t let him go outside to play. I’m excited to get back out there with the guys. I hope I can contribute in any way possible.”

And despite the waiting, Peters should be ready and willing in the scheme with six weeks to learn it firsthand. Although Pat Yasinskas of ESPN thinks that the most likely scenario is for Peters to not be activated this week, it looks more like he will be able to go should he prove to be in "football shape."

That's completely ambiguous, though, as "football shape" could mean anything. If he can go for at least 20-25 snaps, it would make sense for Mike Nolan to have him play and start on defense.


Peters' Impact on the Defense Will Be Positive In Both Run and Pass

Corey Peters' best fit is in the 4-3 defense. So the wonder is how the quick tackle will fit the new scheme that Nolan is running with the multiple front and Amoeba defenses. His fit will determine how much the Falcons run and pass defense are going to improve. 

To this, the Falcons have had trouble trying to find the right fit for that 1-technique in the scheme. They use it in almost every formation, and it is where the Falcons have been getting gashed on the interior of the defense versus the run.

The 1-technique is a defensive tackle who is supposed to shoot the "A"-gap—the gap between the center and guard. Peters has played the role for the past two seasons and has started thirty games over his first two seasons in the role. 

He should be able to come in and play it just as well as he did last season, when he got three sacks, one interception, one fumble return and three pass deflections. With the addition of Peters back to the lineup, the Falcons should be ecstatic because it will also allow them to move Vance Walker and Peria Jerry to the under tackle, 3-technique role.

This puts those two in better position to make plays and allows Jonathan Babineaux—who has played 86.5 percent of the snaps (h/t ProFootballFocus Premium Stats)—to get some rest and stay fresh throughout the games. This will only make the Falcons defense better—both against the pass and the run.

So while Peters may not be the silver bullet because of the spot he plays, the role he plays as a starting nose tackle in the Falcons multi-front defense should open up the rotation and allow the Falcons to have a fresher, stronger defensive tackle group throughout the season.


Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek, runs the NFL Draft Website and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.