Falcons LT Sam Baker to miss 3 to 4 weeks

 

Falcons lineman Sam Baker blocks Carolina's Charles Johnson, giving Matt Ryan time to pass. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons lineman Sam Baker blocks Carolina's Charles Johnson, giving Matt Ryan time to pass. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons left tackle Sam Baker will be out three to four weeks with a back injury head coach Mike Smith announced Wednesday.

Baker had been playing well after a slow start to the season. He had tough matchups in the opener against Chicago’s Julius Peppers and in the second game against Philadelphia’s Trent Cole.

After the line had given up 13 sacks in the first three games, Smith said the staff was considering shaking up the starting line. The week before the Seattle game, Baker and Will Svitek were splitting time with the first-team.

When the Falcons got off to a good start and jumped out to a 27-7 lead against Seattle, the staff decided not to make any major personnel changes. Svitek started for Baker against Detroit in the Falcons game on Oct. 23.

Smith has said that the offense has had to make some “schematic” changes to protect Ryan. They are throwing off of fewer five- and seven-step drops, rolling Ryan out some and leaving in running backs or tight ends to help chip block.

Svitek was originally with Kansas City. The Falcons signed him Feb. 12, 2009.

Baker has a history of back problems. He had a discectomy, a surgical procedure on herniated disc material in his lower back in an attempt to relieve pain in his hip during his rookie year. He elected to have that surgery in California.

In the wake of Baker’s injury and the lost of guard Mike Johnson (foot), the Falcons signed five-year veteran Kirk Chambers on Oct. 25. He will serve as a backup at guard and tackle.

When he was a rookie Baker saw specialists in New York and California.

Baker, a first-round draft pick chosen 21st overall in the 2008 draft, opened the season as the starting left tackle.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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67 comments Add your comment

The Real Falcon

November 2nd, 2011
3:32 pm

Not really a loss.

Jimbo

November 2nd, 2011
3:39 pm

DJ Sniper

November 2nd, 2011
3:40 pm

Count me as a fan who is not upset about this. If Will Svitek continues to play like he did against Detroit, then we could see a permanent change at LT.

SirReal

November 2nd, 2011
3:46 pm

Why am I not saddened by this? He must be 1 of your favs D. Led b/c you keep saying how he was manhandled the first 2 games but started straightening up.lol ;) I say give Svitek a shot…unless he steps on his own QB again.lol ( Well, that wasnt all his fault though.)

Einstein

November 2nd, 2011
3:48 pm

I think Baker has just lost his job. Svitek did not give up a sack against Detroit. Kyle Vanden Bosch is no slouch. He may not be the biggest name in the NFL but he has a high motor and goes 100% on every single play and Svitek did his job. I just hope that Svitek doesn’t step on Ryan again.

RD

November 2nd, 2011
3:49 pm

Y’all are worthless – insulting an injured player?! Not cool, regardless of his struggles this season. Be careful or you may get injured sitting on your as$ on the couch.

Boom Dizzle

November 2nd, 2011
3:49 pm

This is not a big loss…..if anything our line may have gotten better…..

Einstein

November 2nd, 2011
3:49 pm

If Svitek proves to be a better protector in these next few weeks against the likes of Dwight Freeney, Will Smith, etc then Svitek will hold onto the spot regardless of Baker’s health.

Einstein

November 2nd, 2011
3:50 pm

Svitek has to go up against Freeney, Will Smith, Jared Allen, etc in these next few weeks…so we’ll find out real soon if he’s going to keep this LT spot.

CGD..

November 2nd, 2011
3:59 pm

Hey Baker just take the rest of the year off. Wont be missed…Positive?

DJ Sniper

November 2nd, 2011
3:59 pm

RD, I’m not insulting the guy, but let’s be real: Sam Baker has not really been the answer at LT. That’s just the truth.

CGD..

November 2nd, 2011
4:00 pm

Looks like an upgrade? Positive?

AlanFalcon

November 2nd, 2011
4:01 pm

Good luck Sam, some people such as on this blog have no scrupples, their greatest contributuion is to kick a man while he is down !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Steve from McDonough

November 2nd, 2011
4:07 pm

Perhaps he’s been struggling at LT because of a lingering back injury, and chose to not make an excuse out of it.

warfalcons

November 2nd, 2011
4:13 pm

Why is his back hurting,the way has blocked it should be matt`s back that is hurting.No lost,GO FALCONS.

yeahsure

November 2nd, 2011
4:17 pm

Svitek is playing well. I hope Baker makes it back just for the depth. The person that really needs to step up is Reynolds.

I am a little nervous about the loss of Ovie. He’s a probowl FB for a reason. You can’t just plug in a smaller Snelling and see the same results. Hope Mike Cox can learn the blocking schemes fast.

Falcon Fan

November 2nd, 2011
4:19 pm

Did any of you guys consider he may have had a rough season so far due to the back injury?

FalcFans.com » Baker to miss 3-4 weeks

November 2nd, 2011
4:25 pm

[...] Falcons announced on Wednesday that tackle Sam Baker will miss the next three to four weeks with a back injury. The same injury [...]

CGD..

November 2nd, 2011
4:25 pm

“I am a little nervous about the loss of Ovie. He’s a probowl FB for a reason. You can’t just plug in a smaller Snelling and see the same results. Hope Mike Cox can learn the blocking schemes fast.”

Dont be nervous! Julio’s back to run routes!

Big O

November 2nd, 2011
4:29 pm

Thank you Mr. Baker for contributing to some very entertaining and winning Falcon’s football since you joined the team despite a painful and weakened back. I look forward to seeing you getting back to “tolerable” pain so you might get on the field again. Only those who have experienced lower back pain can appreciate your situation.

X

November 2nd, 2011
4:30 pm

@AlanFalcon andRD, Sam Baker is probably one of the WORST LT in football and believe me people were kicking when he was up! Just because people are telling the truth about a BUST of a LT does not mean they have no scrupples! SMH

X

November 2nd, 2011
4:34 pm

And by the way TD is not without blame for drafting these guys that were hurt in college, i.e. Baker and Peria Jerry, did he think that they would magically get healthier once they got to the NFL?

[...] Here is the AJC’s story on Sam Baker. [...]

Die Hard Falcon

November 2nd, 2011
4:38 pm

Whether or not DLed likes him, the facts are that MR2 hasn’t been sacked as much after the first 2 weeks, only 1 or 2 times per game at most in the last 5, so there was improvement. Unfortunately whether it’s Baker’s fault or not, we need to figure out if it’s personnel or scheme this offseason. We should not have to elminate 5 and 7 step drops, that’s what produces big plays and having the field spread instead of keeping 2 backs or TE to chip means that we need to fix either the personnel/scheme or both. TD should be asking Belichecks advice on OL issues, Brady has all day to throw in most of their games, and besides their LG, I wouldn’t say that they have household name O Linemen.
We need to fix this, TD should remember from his time in NE that you build from the inside out, we’ll need DE to replace Abe and need to figure out if we need new lineman or a new scheme if we’re ever going to be a SB contender.
Go FALCONS!

P.S. Baker get better and anyone who cheers about an injury is talking out of pocket.

D Money

November 2nd, 2011
4:40 pm

@X…I agree with your comments. We HAVE to find a LT in the off-season.

girth hungwell

November 2nd, 2011
4:40 pm

thank god for this good new

Mikey

November 2nd, 2011
4:46 pm

Good luck and a speedy recovery Sam. If that back gets back to where it should be, we will sure need your help to finish the season strong. Will S. has done a great job filling in so far and I hope he can keep it going. We need all the depth we can get on the O-liine to make a push for the big one. The line has continued to improve week by week and we need it to rise up to the challenge! I’ll be rooting for all of you!

SirReal

November 2nd, 2011
4:53 pm

@Rd Never would do that. If you’ve read some of my past posts I always say there’s a human being there after the whistle blows who hurts just like the rest of us. BUT, thats the nature of the game and I dont feel sorry for someone who has a much higher salary and top notch healthcare. He’ll be ok.

@Einstein good points. we’ll see what Svitek has against the likes of those guys over the next few weeks. If he does well, I say keep him there and make Baker a G. I think he could be a ferocious G, just not cut out for LT.

ATL Fan

November 2nd, 2011
4:53 pm

Baker didn’t force the Falcons to draft him in the first round. He may not live up to the 1st round expectations, but come on…Give the guy a break. Early in the season he was getting beat and beat badly. I think that blocking schemes could have prevented some of the sacks. Heck, if you see a guy having a bad day, give him help. There were none of those chip blocks from the backs against Chicago.
The coaching staff should give the offense the best opportunity to succeed. If your LT, LG, C, RG, or LT are having trouble, get them help. If they aren’t good enough, replace them. Right now these are the players we have. Coaches – help them succeed.

Paddy

November 2nd, 2011
4:56 pm

The guy is hurt. Lay off injured players. He is still part of our team!

PMC

November 2nd, 2011
4:57 pm

Remember when Sam Baker was Nate McClouth? He got injured then too.

Season Ticker Holder

November 2nd, 2011
4:58 pm

Well said @ATL Fan

PMC

November 2nd, 2011
5:00 pm

In all seriousness, get well soon Sam. To Good health.

PMC

November 2nd, 2011
5:01 pm

Also, the guys a pretty good tackle, he’s just not a great left tackle. if he were on the right side no one would be griping.

ATL Fan

November 2nd, 2011
5:01 pm

Thanks Season Ticker Holder

[...] left tackle Sam Baker will miss the next three-to-four weeks with a back injury, head coach Mike Smith announced on Wednesday, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the [...]

Firsttimer

November 2nd, 2011
5:39 pm

yeahsure and ATLfan-you both make great points. Baker started the season off badly, but, has come along with the rest of the line in protecting their qb. I agree with yeahsure that a bigger concern is Garrett Reynolds. Remember him? The holding and false start king of the o-line. He has stopped more Falcon drives than any of our opponents. I agree with ATLfan that coaches have to adjust their schemes according to the flow of the game.

JONESBORO SLIM

November 2nd, 2011
5:48 pm

Well this explains why his performance has dropped off there is no telling how long he’s been suffering with this problem and if you ever had back trouble the healing can be very long …..get well Sam….

Kyle

November 2nd, 2011
6:26 pm

As long as Will doesn’t try to break Matt’s ankle again he couldn’t be any worse. Might be a step up.

SeenThisB4

November 2nd, 2011
6:32 pm

Geaux Colts!

Monday Morning QB

November 2nd, 2011
6:38 pm

Rams 31 Aints 21

Go find a bag SeenThisB4

CGD..

November 2nd, 2011
6:44 pm

Mack

November 2nd, 2011
9:02 am

“I hope Matt gets his act together next week. MR was terrible vs Lions. Maybe his worst game ever, imo. I think he threw one good pass the whole game.(the one right after he came back from injury). I dunno if it’s married life, bad off season, new QB coach or whatever MR is definetly regressing.
I am not a Ryan hater. I am a Falcon lover. after 3 yrs MR = great lockeroom/PR guy, great film room/scheme guy, good tough guy/field General but he is not consistently accurate… so he is a popular Smart durable QB that can’t throw consistently. 5 outta 6 ain’t bad. But, throwing accurately consistently is kinda important when comes to QB’s. I am just hoping it’s something simple like being a newlywed and He fixes it. I want him to be great and he ain’t there yet. C’mon Matt you can do eet!”

A Leopard cant change his spots! Dont hold your breath Mack! This QB is not the one Grasshopper.

laughoutloud

November 2nd, 2011
6:48 pm

lol. Hes holding like a mofo in the picture. hope he heals quick!

Jay

November 2nd, 2011
6:53 pm

Terrible pick by Dmitroff. The fact we traded up to get Sam Faker makes it sting worse.

Mr. Belichick

November 2nd, 2011
6:53 pm

Another TD bust. I’ve told that boy who to pick. He just won’t listen.

SeenThisB4

November 2nd, 2011
6:57 pm

MMQB: Yes, it was an embarrassing defeat, but lo, we’re still on top of the Division, while your team is still firmly planted in third place. You should get yourself a bag too, make it plastic.

Monday Morning QB

November 2nd, 2011
7:10 pm

@SeenThisB4

You are only on “top” of the division because the Falcons & Bucs have played one less game. Just be and put large eye holes in your sack so you can see the Saints tumble out of contention.

falconsrus

November 2nd, 2011
7:36 pm

Ha Ha mmqb lol seen ya’ll are headin down the polls son

charles

November 2nd, 2011
7:41 pm

Well get well soon Sam and Ovie, now I know it sad to lose them both to injury. But as most has said Will Svitek and Jason Snelling should filling in just fine. The way I see it is the second time around for Cain and Andrews, and the though of that make me smile.

Leeman Bennett

November 2nd, 2011
7:46 pm

Baker needs to improve, no excuses. Let’s hope the back issues have been the problem.