Falcons left tackle Sam Baker has been one of the cornerstones to Atlanta’s rebuilding effort under G.M. Thomas Dimitroff ever since Baker was selected 18 picks after Matt Ryan in the 2008 draft.
That’s why it was eye-opening to see Baker active for Sunday’s win over the Vikings, but not in the starting lineup.
The Falcons benched Baker in favor of Will Svitek. (Matt Ryan’s svankle was just fine.)
Baker has started 41 games at left tackle since being drafted and was exclusively a starter since the 2009 season. He had been struggling badly this year in pass protection. Svitek held Jared Allen sack-less on Sunday.
While Baker’s decline is disappointing, it’s a good sign the Falcons are worried about production and not pedigree when setting their lineup.