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Falcons T Sam Baker has torn patella tendon, out for season

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Sam Baker reportedly tore his patella tendon on Saturday night and could miss the season.
Sam Baker tore his patella tendon on Saturday night and could miss the season. (USATSI)

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Things didn't look good when Falcons tackle Sam Baker was carted off the field on Saturday night holding his knee. In the light of day, they're not looking any better.

The initial diagnosis is Baker suffered a torn patella tendon, Ian Rappoport of NFL Network reports, and tests Sunday confirmed the worst.

"Following his injury in the game, Sam underwent a number of tests and it was determined that he had suffered a torn patellar tendon and will miss the rest of the season," Mike Smith said in a statement. "Sam had worked extremely hard to get back on the field after missing most of last season, and he was having a good camp. I know he is disappointed, but I also know he is a very resilient football player and will do whatever he can to bounce back."

This news is not good. As we noted in last night's takeaways column, it's a big problem for the Falcons.

First, it moves rookie lineman Jake Matthews into the left tackle spot. He can probably handle it as Matthews is a big dude but he's more of a technician than a mauler and left tackle probably suits him better than the right side.

But it's still a rookie put in charge of protecting Matt Ryan's blindside on what Atlanta hopes is a playoff-worthy team. Any rookie, no matter his pedigree, is going to struggle at times if thrown into the fire of left tackle.

The trickle-down effect of all this means suddenly the Falcons need Ryan Schraeder or Gabe Carimi to step up and play right tackle. Atlanta's got better depth than it had last year but it's only that way right now.

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