An Early Look At The Falcons-Texans Depth Chart: Sam Baker Is A Backup

Thanks to the invaluable reporting of D. Orlando Ledbetter, we have a better sense of how the Falcons' lineups will shake out against the Texans this weekend. Let's run through these items like marauding vikings.

The Offensive Tackle Shakeup, By Robert Ludlum

The big news is that Sam Baker has officially moved down the depth chart as a backup to Will Svitek. Here's what Mike Smith had to say on that front:

Smith said the decision was made because Baker is still not 100 percent recovered from back surgery performed during the Falcons’ bye week in late October. The team previously had not revealed that Baker had surgery, his second in four seasons. Baker had a discectomy, a procedure on herniated-disc material in his lower back to relieve pain in his hip, as a rookie.

While I'm sure it's true that Baker is not fully recovered from his back surgery, there was no need to change the depth chart if the Falcons expect him to be back to that soon. Either he's seriously hobbling or Will Svitek has simply overtaken him. I'd bet heavily on the latter, and it's a richly deserved promotion.

The Cornerback Depth Chart Goes Splitsville

Dominique Franks is starting outside this weekend. Sort of.

The Falcons coaching staff is basically going to try to get Franks and Chris Owens reps both outside and inside, because Franks will play outside in traditional packages. Owens, meanwhile, will start outside in nickel packages, with Franks moving inside. Given that the Falcons operate out of the nickel a lot, this will probably be a pretty even split.

Obviously, the coaching staff is high on both of these guys. Owens, in particular, is a Mike Smith favorite despite his occasional struggles. Franks is getting a real opportunity here despite some screw-ups in the Vikings game. While it's largely out of necessity that Owens and Franks are getting these chances, there is a level of faith here.

It'll be interesting—and maybe a little terrifying—to see them both in action against Houston.

Your thoughts on these reports?

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