At the NFL owners meeting in Palm Beach, Fla., Falcons coach Mike Smith repeated the stance that he made at the NFL scouting combine about the team being committed to Sam Baker as the left tackle.
The offensive line was hurt significantly by back and elbow injuries to Baker last season.
Smith believes the unit will be stronger if Baker, who had back surgery during the season, can return healthy.
“We are looking forward to having a healthy Sam back,” Smith said at the combine on February 25. “Sam is very resilient. He’s fought through a lot of injuries.”
Smith went on to state that he’d be comfortable if Baker was the starting left tackle in 2012. Last season, Will Svitek took over at left tackle and remained in the lineup when Baker returned from back surgery.
Many fans want the Falcons to pick up Marcus McNeill, who was cut by San Diego this offseason. There are currently no plans to workout the former Auburn star.
At the NFL owners meeting, Smith spoke about Baker and defensive tackle Peria Jerry to Pat Yasinskas, ESPN.Com’s NFC South blogger.
“We are very committed to Sam Baker,’’ Smith said. “I think Sam has a long future with us.’’
He also told our buddy Pay Y:
“I think that Sam has shown a lot of resiliency,’’ Smith said. “Sam really has worked through a lot of injuries throughout his career. He’s played through a lot of things. Sam, in my mind, was playing very well through the first five or six games last season until he was injured and had to have the procedure done on his back, which put him out for a very significant amount of time.’’
The Falcons’ position of not announcing details of injuries has helped to fuel the
perception that Jerry’s been a bust. In the second game of his career he suffered was has been described as a “severe” injury. But the details have not been forthcoming.
“We’ve committed to Peria Jerry and Peria ended up playing about 30 percent of the snaps (last season),’’ Smith said. “He was a rotational player. He had some production, but it wasn’t consistent production throughout the year.’’
Do you support Smith’s position on Baker and Jerry?
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog