4:59pm: The Falcons have confirmed that Baker will miss the entire 2014 season. The announcement was accompanied by a statement from head coach Mike Smith:
“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,” said Smith. “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.”
12:41pm: Citing ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com tweets that tests have confirmed that Baker ruptured his right patellar tendon.
8:33am: The early diagnosis for Falcons left tackle Sam Baker, who was carted off the field during Saturday’s preseason contest against the Texans, is a torn right patellar tendon, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Rapoport adds that, if the diagnosis is confirmed, Baker’s season is almost certainly over.
Jake Matthews, the team’s first-round pick in this year’s draft, was supposed to start at right tackle in 2014 and slowly transition to the left side. However, as Rapoport notes in a separate tweet, Baker’s injury accelerates Matthews’ move to left tackle. It remains to be seen what Atlanta will do at right tackle going forward, though Lamar Holmes (who replaced Baker on the blind side in last night’s game) will get a shot, as will Ryan Schraeder. Gabe Carimi, who signed with the Falcons as a free agent in February, sprained his ankle in practice several weeks ago but was having a good training camp until the injury and could be in the mix. But he struggled at both tackle positions during his time with the Bears and looked to have more value as a backup guard.
Baker missed 12 games in 2013 due to a torn patellar tendon in his left knee, which makes his latest injury even more troublesome. He has also dealt with back problems over the course of his career. The Falcons’ offensive line was a mess last season, and Baker’s injury increased the likelihood of a repeat performance in 2014.