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How will the Falcons' offensive line shake out now after Sam Baker was released?

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We've had a couple of days to process the Sam Baker cut. Does this change things for the offensive line?

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

I'd like to say that releasing Sam Baker two days ago changed everything for the Falcons, but that's not strictly true. The team couldn't possibly have been counting on him for a starting job coming off such a major injury, so Jake Matthews and (insert right tackle of your choice) were probably safe. It does, however, potentially have repercussions down the depth chart. If you thought Baker might play guard, you've got to re-calibrate your expectations there, too.

In one of the few predictions I can proudly own, I have to say I had Baker getting cut the last time I projected the roster and the offensive line, so my personal projection doesn't change much. II have the Falcons carrying a nine man offensive line, with two backup tackles and a pair of versatile interior linemen who could play guard or center in a pinch. I also anticipate the team will keep seventh rounder Jake Rodgers around on the practice squad at tackle, and that one of the rookie undrafted free agent interior linemen will carve out a spot on the squad to give the team further depth.

LT Jake Matthews
LG Chris Chester
C Joe Hawley
RG Jon Asamoah
RT Ryan Schraeder
T Lamar Holmes
T Tyler Polumbus
G/C James Stone
G Mike Person

This is not an incredibly deep line, but it's a competent one at all five spots. Your greatest fears here are injury or subpar performance, and considering Matthews and Hawley are coming off of injuries, that's a legitimate concern. Our best hope is that everyone will be healthy, they'll play at a decently high level and the rest of the offense's talent will mask some of the deficiencies. I believe in that outcome.

In case you wondered, I also believe Matthews and Schraeder can be effective bookends at tackle as soon as this year, which would be enough to elevate this line past decent. I recognize that I may be a touch optimistic in this regard, but I suppose this isn't a bad time to be optimistic.

Bottom line, then, Baker's departure doesn't shake the earth underneath this offensive line. That says an awful lot about how much this team has changed over the last couple of seasons.