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Svitek versus Baker: Decision Time

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ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 20:  Will Svitek #74 of the Atlanta Falcons is intriduced before a game against the Tennessee Titans at the Georgia Dome on November 20, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.
ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 20: Will Svitek #74 of the Atlanta Falcons is intriduced before a game against the Tennessee Titans at the Georgia Dome on November 20, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.

We knew it'd happen at some point. Baker couldn't stay injured forever. And it appears the left tackle competition - if you want to call it that - is nearing a close.

"We are not going to make that determination until we get Sam back out there on the field," Falcons coach Mike Smith said on Monday.

Svitek has not given up a sack while going against Detroit’s Kyle Vanden Bosch, Indianapolis Dwight Freeney, New Orleans' Will Allen and Tennessee’s Jason Jones.

I like the depth. Having a surplus of talent never hurts, in particular as we near the tail-end of the season. Let's be honest though, we're not going to pay Baker to back up Svitek, especially since Baker has a substantial raise coming his way next year.

Svitek was relatively solid in Baker's absence, not allowing any sacks against some talented defensive ends. But the haterade-infused vitriol directed at Baker this year is somewhat perplexing. He's only allowed 3 sacks during the 2011 campaign. To be frank, that's 3 sacks too many. Even so, left tackle is one of the more challenging positions in football, and the gauntlet Baker faced early on isn't lacking in talent.

So what to do? I think they give Baker back his starting job and go from there. They can utilize Svitek where needed, and - knock on wood - he may be needed sooner rather than later. Regardless, the seed is planted. We know that Svitek can hang. Even if Baker starts from here on out, the Falcons brass may need to make a tough decision next off-season.

What say you? Let's discuss!