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Falcons "Very Committed" To Sam Baker, Peria Jerry

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Thousands of fans just died a little inside.

I've been skeptical throughout the off-season that Sam Baker will actually wind up starting, and even in the face of a series of comments to that effect I remain skeptical. I'll explain tonight why I think the Falcons may still kick the tires on Marcus McNeill, with these comments providing further leverage. But I'll fully admit I'm fighting against both common sense and explicit comments from the head coach here, even if off-season comments aren't worth the oxygen it takes to make them.

The Falcons are putting an awful lot of eggs in the coaching basket, hoping that Pat Hill can get better production out of the line. They're also gambling on Sam Baker returning and being more effective than he was in 2010 (when he was shaky) and 2011 (when he was a disaster before going down with an injury).

If the Falcons are going to sink or swim with Baker, I obviously hope they swim. Maybe a new coach and a healthy start to the season will make all the difference for him. It is, however, a risk.

As for Peria Jerry, that one's a little easier to swallow. He's costing the Falcons relatively little and the team seems to have accepted that he's basically a first-round bust at this point, whether by injury or a simple lack of top-flight talent. As such, they're not going to be making any promises beyond him being a rotational player. If he can put up a few sacks and provide quality depth, I'd be able to live with it. At least the coaching staff knows what he is.

Your (gentle) reactions?