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Falcons hope a healthy Baker can protect Ryan’s back

Jeremy Mincey, Matt Ryan AP

After drafting quarterback Matt Ryan with the third overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff made a bold move to get back into the first round to protect Ryan’s blind side.

It wasn’t Dimitroff’s biggest splash, but at points last year, it looked like one of his worst moves.

But after being benched and moved inside, left tackle Sam Baker’s hoping for a bounce-back season. He’s had another back surgery (after a mid-season procedure last year) and said he feels well enough to deliver now.

“Man, it was just tough,” Baker told D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Just to come out after the lockout and not knowing where your body was at, and then just kind of getting thrown into it.

“I had a couple of terrible games early on, and that really didn’t help either. Then, having some back issues again, it was really, mentally, it was just a roller coaster.”

That coaster was more down that up, as Baker looked awful at points. When he returned, he stayed behind career backup Will Svitek, and looked shaky in his short look at guard. The Falcons didn’t add significant parts to a line that struggled, meaning they’re counting on big improvement from Baker. He has all the incentive to improve, as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.

“This is an important year for Sam, as we all know,” Dimitroff said. “I have confidence that Sam is going to come back and be a good left tackle for us.”

He better be, or having a franchise quarterback, a flashy set of receivers and an expensive trio of cornerbacks won’t matter all that much, to a team with regular season success but no playoff wins under the current administration.

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7 Responses to “Falcons hope a healthy Baker can protect Ryan’s back”
  1. hutch119 says: Jun 11, 2012 3:23 PM

    We have herd the same thing for years. Healthy or hurt it doesn’t matter the guy just sucks and isn’t an NFL caliber LT. Only reason he has had so many chances is they burned a bunch of picks on him.

  2. sporkdevil says: Jun 11, 2012 3:27 PM

    “The Falcons didn’t add significant parts to a line that struggled, meaning they’re counting on big improvement from Baker.”

    Except for their first two picks in the draft when Atlanta picked up a G/C and a tackle, I suppose that is true.

    Baker remains terrible.

  3. bobulated says: Jun 11, 2012 3:46 PM

    I’m convinced a rusty 1970’s era tackling dummy with mannequin arms duct taped to it would provide better pass protection for Matt Ryan than Sam Baker.

  4. jacobslatter says: Jun 11, 2012 3:51 PM

    Bring on Lamar Holmes……for 2013.

  5. dirtybird70 says: Jun 11, 2012 3:56 PM

    Baker looked to be a franchise LT before the back injury. It’s been all down hill ever since and I’m not sure he can rebound mentally, if not physically.

    Now they rely on a 3rd round project to help fill the void if necessary alon with a career journeyman in Svitek? This is how you plan to protect your QB?? Not the best planning, I must say.

    Hey Marcus McNeil, are you healthy enough big guy? Please help!

  6. kane337 says: Jun 11, 2012 4:02 PM

    “The Falcons didn’t add significant parts to a line that struggled, meaning they’re counting on big improvement from Baker.”

    Yea making their first 2 picks in the draft offensive lineman is not significant parts. *sigh*

  7. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 11, 2012 4:25 PM

    Protecting his back side. Without the pretentious sport terminology, the Michael Oher movie would have been called “The Back Side”. Which would have been much more suitable in retrospect.

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