Injured Baker ruled out for Falcons-Fins on Sunday

BY foxsports • September 20, 2013

The banged-up Falcons have ruled out left tackle Sam Baker (knee/foot problems) for Sunday's game at Miami, raising the number of Atlanta starters sidelined by injuries — compared to last week — to five.

The Falcons also listed cornerback Asante Samuel (thigh) and wide receivers Roddy White (knee) and Julio Jones (knee) as questionable.

Samuel was inactive for the season opener and played only seven plays last week before leaving the game. On Thursday, head coach Mike Smith was optimistic that Samuel, a four-time Pro Bowler, could play against the Dolphins.

On Tuesday, Smith ruled out running back Steven Jackson with a hamstring injury, one that could keep him out for the Falcons' nationally televised clash with the Patriots (Sept. 29).

On Tuesday, Atlanta also placed linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (foot) on injured reserve/designated to return, meaning he won't be eligible to return until Week 11 (against Tampa Bay).

On Monday, the Falcons placed defensive end/outside linebacker Kroy Biermann (torn Achilles) and fullback Bradie Ewing (separated shoulder) on injured reserve, ending their respective seasons.

The most likely candidate to fill the spot vacated by Baker, a six-year veteran and the Falcons' highest-paid lineman, is second-year player Lamar Holmes, who has but two NFL starts under his belt.

Veteran Jeremy Trueblood, signed on Sept. 3, likely would play right tackle. Trueblood has 84 career starts, all with Tampa Bay.

The Falcons (1-1) have struggled to run the ball and pass protect behind their line. Quarterback Matt Ryan has been sacked five times and officially hit 14 times.

The Falcons currently rank 26th in rushing yards.

Backups likely to earn starting roles for Week 3 include second-year player Jonathan Massaquoi at defensive end, undrafted rookie Joplo Bartu and veteran Stephen Nicholas at linebacker, seven-year veteran Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers at running back and Patrick DiMarco, signed this week off the practice squad, at fullback.

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