Jump to content

Baker And Jerry By Pat Y


Recommended Posts

Falcons sticking with Baker, Jerry

March, 30, 2012

MAR 30

7:22

AM ET

EmailPrintComments

52

By Pat Yasinskas

US Presswire/Getty Images

Former first-round picks Peria Jerry and Sam Baker have struggled to live up to expectations.

They were first-round picks and that alone created enormous expectations for Atlanta offensive tackle Sam Baker and defensive tackle Peria Jerry.

Baker was taken in 2008, the same year the Falcons drafted quarterback Matt Ryan. The theory was, the Falcons would have their franchise quarterback and the protector of their franchise quarterback for the next decade or so. Jerry was taken in 2009 and was expected to be a dominant run stopper as well as provide a little interior pass rush. On paper, both picks looked like smart moves at the time.

In cold, hard reality, Baker and Jerry never have lived up to the expectations of Atlanta fans. They haven’t even come close. Baker was viewed as serviceable at first, but he’s regressed in the eyes of fans. And their perception was pretty close to reality last season, when journeyman Will Svitek ended up starting ahead of him. Jerry’s career simply was cursed almost right from the start. In the second game of his rookie season, Jerry tore up his knee. The Falcons and Jerry have never officially described the injury, but let’s just say Jerry tore just about everything in his knee. He barely has been a factor since.

That’s why there was speculation Baker and Jerry would be cut this offseason. But, guess what? That’s not happening. Our first clue came when free agency started. If the Falcons were going to pull the plug on Baker and Jerry, it would have happened before free agency started in March because that would have given the Falcons some much-needed cap room.

But, now, we’ve got even more concrete proof. I sat down with Atlanta coach Mike Smith during the NFL owners meeting earlier this week. I asked him specifically about the futures of Baker and Jerry.

[+] Enlarge

Josh D. Weiss/US Presswire

Atlanta coach Mike Smith says the Falcons remain "committed'' to Peria Jerry and Sam Baker.

In each case, Smith, as straight-forward a coach as I’ve ever dealt with, said the Falcons remain “committed’’ to Jerry and Baker.

Let’s start with Baker. This one might be painful to fans, but it’s a little easier to see what Smith is saying. The reality is, you just don’t find a franchise left tackle in the draft when you’re not picking until the second round. There wasn’t anything close to a franchise left tackle in free agency. In that situation, sometimes it’s best to stick with what you’ve got instead of reaching. Apparently, that’s what the Falcons are planning to do.

“We are very committed to Sam Baker,’’ Smith said. “I think Sam has a long future with us.’’

Smith is the kind of coach that likes to say most positions are open to competition in training camp. I think that’s true at left tackle, where Baker will have to compete with Svitek and anyone else the Falcons might bring in between now and then. But I also got the impression the Falcons are hoping Baker steps up and claims the job. I’m not saying Baker will ever be a Pro Bowler, but I think this guy has been banged up a lot more than people realize. I get the impression the Falcons think Baker can be adequate or slightly better than that, if he’s healthy.

“I think that Sam has shown a lot of resiliency,’’ Smith said. “Sam really has worked through a lot of injuries throughout his career. He’s played through a lot of things. Sam, in my mind, was playing very well through the first five or six games last season until he was injured and had to have the procedure done on his back, which put him out for a very significant amount of time.’’

Jerry’s a bit of a different story. I think the Falcons pretty much have accepted the fact, he never will be a superstar. But Smith made it sound like there still is a spot on the roster for Jerry as a role player.

“We’ve committed to Peria Jerry and Peria ended up playing about 30 percent of the snaps (last season),’’ Smith said. “He was a rotational player. He had some production, but it wasn’t consistent production throughout the year.’’

I reminded Smith how he said he thought Jerry would bounce back and have a big impact last season because he was further out from the knee surgery. That obviously didn’t happen and I asked Smith if Jerry’s knee still was holding him back last season.

“I can’t say that it is an issue,’’ Smith said. “It was a significant injury. I don’t know that Peria was the same guy he was before the injury. You see his ability to get up the field at times and we still feel he can be a very productive player for us.’’

I wouldn’t look for Jerry to suddenly jump into the starting lineup. Corey Peters has developed into a very solid defensive tackle. The other starter is Jonathan Babineaux. Although he’s coming off a sub-par season, it wasn’t all that long ago that Babineaux was the best defensive tackle in the NFC South. I’d look for Jerry to continue to rotate in behind those two guys. If he can be a little more consistent and productive than he was last season, I think the Falcons will be content with Jerry as their third defensive tackle.

“We need to be more consistent,’’ Smith said. “Not only Peria, but across the board on the defensive line.’’

Tags:Atlanta Falcons, Will Svitek, Mike Smith, Peria Jerry, Jonathan Babineaux, Matt Ryan, Sam Baker, Corey Peters

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I still think Svitek can be a darn fine LT. He is very raw at the position, and still played well there.

I think the staff knows this as well, and Svitek could very well turn out to be one hail of a LT real real soon ........I expect him to start and play lights out this year with Sackmaker as the swing .......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It just limits where we can run the ball it Svitek is the LT is all,thats my only concern with him.

With regards to Baker and Jerry well I don't no what to say I guess MS is between a rock and hard place and with no one else to grab I guess both I hope are just used as back-ups.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It just limits where we can run the ball it Svitek is the LT is all,thats my only concern with him.

With regards to Baker and Jerry well I don't no what to say I guess MS is between a rock and hard place and with no one else to grab I guess both I hope are just used as back-ups.

Well, he's not a mauler at the point of attack, but the guy does an excellent job of getting his hat on people at the second level .........

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So the game against the eagles in which Matt got smeared time and time again was a good performance by Baker??? WTF!!!!?!?!?!?!?!??!!!!!!! Im gonna pull my hair out................. Seriously im now eating it. Somebody help!

No lie. I still have nightmares of Trent Cole blowing Baker up in that game. He'd hit Turnstyle and Baker would fly backwards, his feet doing a slow-mo flail in the air kinda like a special effects highlight, and then he'd land about 2 yards deep in the Falcon backfield EVERY PLAY. It was like being stuck watching a train wreck that kept happening over and over again. After that game Baker should've been greeted at the lockerroom door with his clothes folded in a cheap suitcase and a bus ticket to Iowa.

Edited by PokerSteve
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the staff knows this as well, and Svitek could very well turn out to be one hail of a LT real real soon ........I expect him to start and play lights out this year with Sackmaker as the swing .......

I like Svitek, a hard work type who has had to earn everything he has gotten.

However if Svitek is going to develop into our starting left tackle, he had better do it fast. Svitek is already 30 years old. You guys do know that, right?

I mean I know offensive linemen tend to last longer than most positions, but when will Svitek be developed, if he ever is?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<grumble grumble>

I understand they were first rounders and all, but c'mon... if a player finds himself hurt alot, it doesn't matter WHERE they were drafted, or what their expectations might have been; they can't play, they should go.

All I can assume is the FO wants to give the new coaches a crack at old talent... Hope it works.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<grumble grumble>

I understand they were first rounders and all, but c'mon... if a player finds himself hurt alot, it doesn't matter WHERE they were drafted, or what their expectations might have been; they can't play, they should go.

All I can assume is the FO wants to give the new coaches a crack at old talent... Hope it works.

Well these guys are still under contract so there is that. Perry does not make much but Baker makes decent money. Since TD does not appear to want to sign anyone else's FAs, it doesn't hurt to keep players we already have signed.

Of course this could also be considered a side effect of the Jones trade. The first second and two fourths we missed out on could very well have been used on the DT, LT positions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No lie. I still have nightmares of Trent Cole blowing Baker up in that game. He'd hit Turnstyle and Baker would fly backwards, his feet doing a slow-mo flail in the air kinda like a special effects highlight, and then he'd land about 2 yards deep in the Falcon backfield EVERY PLAY. It was like being stuck watching a train wreck that kept happening over and over again. After that game Baker should've been greeted at the lockerroom door with his clothes folded in a cheap suitcase and a bus ticket to Iowa.

I saw it too, one play Cole extended his arms and lunged into Bakers' chest, Baker went about two yards backwards. Guess that shows you why O linemen need long arms, right...

I think Baker could avoid that if he didnt play so high. Then again if he crouched more he would not be able to move to engage DE's trying to run around him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's a little dissapointing thinking about Baker and another year, but I do understand he would be a hit to us this year. I just think we could be so much more successful with a better hold on LT. But you never can tell...the new coaching regime may work miracles with our current roster. Only time will tell.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is where TD's ego gets the better of him. He is going to hang on to his picks like Baker even though he could get a better player in FA. This is indicative of trying to the bitter end to prove he was right about a player when it would be better for the team to cut the string. If this was a McKay pick like Anderson was, he would have no qualms about cutting bait. Think about that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is where TD's ego gets the better of him. He is going to hang on to his picks like Baker even though he could get a better player in FA. This is indicative of trying to the bitter end to prove he was right about a player when it would be better for the team to cut the string. If this was a McKay pick like Anderson was, he would have no qualms about cutting bait. Think about that.

I have to say that your analogy might not be that far off....but I think you have to include Smitty....either that or he's being told to support the decission.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is where TD's ego gets the better of him. He is going to hang on to his picks like Baker even though he could get a better player in FA. This is indicative of trying to the bitter end to prove he was right about a player when it would be better for the team to cut the string. If this was a McKay pick like Anderson was, he would have no qualms about cutting bait. Think about that.

With a new coach Pat Hill and Baker being in a contract year, maybe TD and Smitty are hoping that Baker will be twice as good as he has been.

Which would mean Baker would be hurt half as much (which would be most the time instead of all the time) and twice as good (going from horrid to subpar).

Then TD could reward Baker with a long term deal!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...