In light of the most recent reports about Sam Baker almost losing his job earlier season, and his overall poor play this season, I thought we could look at the future of the offensive line. And truth is, change could be on the way sooner than you think.
Justin Blalock, Harvey Dahl, and Tyson Clabo are all due to be free agents next season.
Additionally, Sam Baker has not lived up to his 1st-round status and could possibly be traded or even cut, depending on how the front office feels about him. Todd McCLure, while still good, is aging and will be a free agent in 2012.
Behind all of these guys, we have Will Svitek (a veteran), Garret Reynolds (2nd year player), Mike Johnson (rookie), and Joe Hawley (rookie).
I'd also be willing to bet we take an offensive tackle within the first three rounds of the draft, or sign one via free agency.
Also, TD has been actively seeking out bigger, heavier offensive linemen that can be physical and play through the whistle (like Dahl and Clabo). Guys like Baker (305 pounds) Dahl (305 pounds) and McClure (296 pounds) are "undersized" compared to guys like Blalock (329 pounds) and Clabo (331 pounds) Reynolds (317) and Johnson (312).
As for Baker, his problem hasn't really been pass protection, but run blocking and the mental aspect of the game (i.e. penalties). If you look at the O-line stats here, you see that the Falcons have a "power" rating of
Left: 50, along with 10 negative rushes
Center: 86, along with 3 negative rushes
Right: 78, along with 5 negative rushes
Clearly, the rushing attack is suffering on the left side of the line.
Ultimately, the decision comes down to who Comrade Dimitroff wants to keep, and who he thinks we can ditch.
So, who will we keep?? Who will we ditch?? What do you guys think of Baker? Discuss!!