Preseason NFL football is almost exclusively about players on the fringes battling for playing time and keeping starting-caliber players healthy through four full contests. Unfortunately for the Atlanta Falcons, the latter part of the checklist wasn’t met on Saturday night, as starting left tackle Sam Baker was forced to exit the game against the Houston Texans as a result of a right knee injury.
Not good news for the Falcons. Starting LT Sam Baker has to be carted off. Initial word is hyperextended right knee (via @vxmcclure23)
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) August 17, 2014
As noted above, the initial word is a hyperextended knee for Baker, but with his history of injury troubles, this isn’t something that the fan base should take lightly. It is too early to speculate on an actual diagnosis, but if he was forced to miss extensive playing time, the Falcons would likely turn to some combination of Jake Matthews (who could move to left tackle) and Lamar Holmes as the starting tackles.
Stay tuned as more information is released, but while many people are down on Sam Baker’s ability to produce as a starting left tackle, he is still regarded as a solid upgrade from what is available behind him on the depth chart.