The AJC.com’s D. Orlando Ledbetter wrote a piece on Sam Baker yesterday. It gave Falcons fans a perspective of Baker as a human, not merely a miserable left tackle who couldn’t block anyone in 2011. I think it is a great piece for Ledbetter to write because it is a lot harder to say awful things about a guy who we see as a father, husband, and friend rather than a draft bust. One must acknowledge, however, that he is pretty darn close to being a draft bust.
The real news from the story though, is that Sam Baker had an offseason surgery in addition to the one he underwent mid-season in 2011.
This is good news for the Falcons, and good news for us as fans. We had very little answers as to why the Falcons believed in Sam Baker. Head Coach Mike Smith even publicly gave him his vote of confidence at the beginning of the free-agency period–the same time when I among other pundits were calling for Baker’s head. Was I really to trust Baker’s back/other injuries to heal on their own? No. I didn’t like the Falcons idea to go forward with confidence in Baker, because he hadn’t proved it very well to me up to this point.
But the fact of the matter is Baker has had another surgery to improve his health, and obviously Atlanta feels confident with his health to protect Matt Ryan’s blindside. This was the information that was withheld from us fans that was making us go crazy. While we still may not feel 100% comfortable with Baker at LT, we can certainly feel a lot better about it.
My only concern about the injury and Ledbetter’s wording of the surgery situation is whether A) the back injury will end up being a chronic problem and B) if the surgery that happened this offseason was on the back or on another part of Baker’s body. Ledbetter leads us to believe that it was an additional back surgery, but I’m still not 100% sure. And I certainly hope that Baker’s back does not end up being something that he struggles with from week to week every season for the rest of his career–both for him and for the Falcons.