Mike Smith: Sam Baker Will Be The Left Tackle In 2014

Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

At this point, anyways.

Sam Baker's 2013 season wasn't really a trainwreck. It was more like a train moseying along the tracks and being hit by a falling satellite, plunging into a ravine and then exploding, taking many cute woodland creatures with it. Also, this train is Thomas the Tank Engine.

That's what happens when you play terrible football for weeks, get injured, come back for one game and play pretty well and then lose the rest of your season to injury. The Falcons' ongoing line woes wouldn't have been totally mitigated by having a healthy Baker, but when you consider that also would have meant Holmes would have been able to handle right tackle, it would have been a slight improvement.

That hasn't changed the team's plans for next season, at least at this point.

Look, a lot could change between now and the start of the 2014 season. Lamar Holmes could play so well the Falcons can't imagine moving him to right tackle. Baker could come back a shell of himself, which many would argue has already happened. If Baker's healthy at the beginning of next year, he'll be the team's starting left tackle, more than likely.

Once you accept that it's likely, if not definite, you can look at the line and see how pieces begin to fall into place. Justin Blalock ought to be back at left guard. The Falcons could roll with a re-signed Joe Hawley or Peter Konz at center. Lamar Holmes should take right tackle. That leaves the Falcons with the possibility of upgrading on one of those guys or spending to get a potentially elite right guard that can stabilize that side of the line. If you assume your tackles are already on the roster, it clarifies the picture, even if we're not totally thrilled with said tackles.

Your thoughts?

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