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Falcons: Michael Turner Is Ready If Needed


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Atlanta Falcons: Michael Turner is ready if needed

5:00 am June 8, 2012, by D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH – Much of the offseason chatter has been about screen passes and a vertical passing game under new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.

But the Falcons’ calling card over the past four seasons has been the rushing attack, powered by running back Michael Turner, who rushed for more than 1,300 yards in three of the past four seasons.

He had 1,340 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. He had 1,371 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2010. In 2008, he rushed for 1,699 yards and 17 touchdowns.

In 2009, he was slowed by a high ankle sprain and rushed for 871 yards and 10 touchdowns in 11 games.

Turner, who caught a career-high 17 passes last season, is embracing change.

“Playing running back is playing running back,” Turner said. “You’ve got to get the tough yards and make explosive plays. There might me a little bit more passing than normal from what Falcons fans are used to. But you just have to be ready when your name is called.”

Turner had 301 carries last season, 334 in 2009 and 376 in 2008.

“Michael has been our workhorse for a few years,” Running backs coach Gerald Brown said. “We’ve discussed the possibility of making sure that we monitor his reps so that he can stay strong for us, through the season and into December. We feel very good about Jason Snelling and Jacquizz [Rodgers], who have played.”

Turner just chuckled at the notion that his carries will be monitored more closely.

“They always say that,” Turner said.

Turner noted that Koetter’s Jacksonville offense led the league is rushing last season, with a rookie quarterback and an impotent passing attack.

“I have to take my hat off to [Jacksonville running back Maurice] Jones-Drew for still getting the job done when they say he had no help out there,” Turner said. “We’ve got names across the board here. It gets me excited that he still led the league in rushing and did great things for them without any help.”

Turner said he’s made sense of wide receiver Roddy White’s contention that they need to do less on offense for the unit to improve.

“I understand what Roddy is saying by that,” Turner said. “It’s not all on Roddy. It’s not all on Matt. If we all contribute together or collectively, we are all doing less, but accomplishing more.”

Turner is set to be backed up by Jason Snelling and second-year man Jacquizz Rodgers.

The Falcons have high hopes that Rodgers can get handle an increased load.

Turner is fine with splitting up some of the action with Rodgers, who will have the benefit of the offseason program this season.

”He got basically thrown into the fire right away,” Turner said. “This will slow things down for him a little bit and he’ll get into a groove. He’ll be ready to go this year.”

Rodgers senses that he could play a big role in the screen game.

“Right now, everybody is getting a shot at running screens,” Rodgers said. “I’m looking forward to being a part of that. Coach Dirk (Koetter) is huge on running the screen so we have a lot of screens in store.”

Rodgers played in all 16 games last season. He had 57 rushes for 205 yards and a touchdown. He also caught 21 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown.

“What he was able to do with not having an offseason, we thought was really good,” Brown said. “With an offseason, we think it can do nothing but make him a better player. Even last year, when we game-planned, we made sure that Quizz had some touches because he can do some things in the run and pass game. He’s an explosive player and we’ll try to get him the the ball.”

The Falcons released former Pro Bowler Ovie Mughelli over the offseason and will have a new fullback. Bradie Ewing, Mike Cox and Lee Meisner are competing to replace Mughelli.

“Last year, Cox ended up playing from the Indy game on,” Brown said. “He’s an NFL veteran. Ewing has done some really good things since he’s been here. We are happy about the competition that we have at the position right now.”

Turner, who turned 30 in February, hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.

“He’s been looking really good,” Brown said. “Physically, he’s running the ball well. He’s right on pace, where he should be. We expect the same thing that he’s been giving us. . . Mike is looking good.”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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"Turner, who turned 30 in February, hasn't shown any signs of slowing down."

Yeah I must have been watching a different guy last year because it looked like he was slowing down to me.

The tank may not be empty but it's getting low...

I agree that he does seem to have slowed down a bit. However I will give him the same excuse that many make for Ryan. I know the run blocking is a little better than the pass blocking, but you really can't run effectively when the line isn't making any holes to run through. I am willing to bet anyone that if the line open up holes, Turner will make you change your minds.

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Guest TheIdowu

I agree that he does seem to have slowed down a bit. However I will give him the same excuse that many make for Ryan. I know the run blocking is a little better than the pass blocking, but you really can't run effectively when the line isn't making any holes to run through. I am willing to bet anyone that if the line open up holes, Turner will make you change your minds.

blasphemy!

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"Turner, who turned 30 in February, hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down."

Yeah I must have been watching a different guy last year because it looked like he was slowing down to me.

The tank may not be empty but it's getting low...

there not going to just come out and say he is slowing down...
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I agree that he does seem to have slowed down a bit. However I will give him the same excuse that many make for Ryan. I know the run blocking is a little better than the pass blocking, but you really can't run effectively when the line isn't making any holes to run through. I am willing to bet anyone that if the line open up holes, Turner will make you change your minds.

I agree but if your oline is creating huge holes then almost any running back is going to have some degree of success.

The thing I noticed with Turner is that he doesn't attack the line... He hesitates so he's a little bit easier to bring down. He gets caught from behind when he does manage to break away.

To me at this point in his career I expect Turner to be more of a power back that consistently picks up 3-4 yards which is perfectly fine.

However I think he doesn't see himself as that and will continue to hesitate in the backfield instead of attacking the line and punishing defenders.... So now instead of a consistent 3-4 yards you get the occasional 10+ yard but most of the time it's more like 1-2 yards.

I love what Turner has done for us but he's had a lot of carries and RBs tend to fall off a cliff when their time is up.

Again I have no problems with a consistent 3-4 yards a carry. I just don't expect Turner to be a home run hitter that can carry the offense anymore.

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I agree but if your oline is creating huge holes then almost any running back is going to have some degree of success.

The thing I noticed with Turner is that he doesn't attack the line... He hesitates so he's a little bit easier to bring down. He gets caught from behind when he does manage to break away.

To me at this point in his career I expect Turner to be more of a power back that consistently picks up 3-4 yards which is perfectly fine.

However I think he doesn't see himself as that and will continue to hesitate in the backfield instead of attacking the line and punishing defenders.... So now instead of a consistent 3-4 yards you get the occasional 10+ yard but most of the time it's more like 1-2 yards.

I love what Turner has done for us but he's had a lot of carries and RBs tend to fall off a cliff when their time is up.

Again I have no problems with a consistent 3-4 yards a carry. I just don't expect Turner to be a home run hitter that can carry the offense anymore.

I definitely see your side. Turner doesn't seem to have that same instinct and attack as he did in 2008. However, I think Turner's hesitation is due to the lack of trust he has in his line. To me it is kind of like Matt Ryan folding under phantom pressure when he actually has time. The line may be making both of them lack a little confidence. You may actually be right about Turner, but I think he has a couple of more years left in him.

That being said I would still like to get a change of pace back with more speed. I am not as high on Rodgers as many are here, but hopefull;y he can get it done

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I agree but if your oline is creating huge holes then almost any running back is going to have some degree of success.

The thing I noticed with Turner is that he doesn't attack the line... He hesitates so he's a little bit easier to bring down. He gets caught from behind when he does manage to break away.

To me at this point in his career I expect Turner to be more of a power back that consistently picks up 3-4 yards which is perfectly fine.

However I think he doesn't see himself as that and will continue to hesitate in the backfield instead of attacking the line and punishing defenders.... So now instead of a consistent 3-4 yards you get the occasional 10+ yard but most of the time it's more like 1-2 yards.

I love what Turner has done for us but he's had a lot of carries and RBs tend to fall off a cliff when their time is up.

Again I have no problems with a consistent 3-4 yards a carry. I just don't expect Turner to be a home run hitter that can carry the offense anymore.

he is trying to be patient and find the hole, but the way our line played last yr made that hard to do... I think turner has lost a step but his line made it look far worse then it really is...

Gotta be patient running the ball, cnt just attack the line.

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“I understand what Roddy is saying by that,” Turner said. “It’s not all on Roddy. It’s not all on Matt. If we all contribute together or collectively, we are all doing less, but accomplishing more.”

Yet, people on this board continue the "There are only so many balls to go around" argument when the players getting those balls are saying if they do less, the whole will do more. It's not rocket science. We have players who can make plays besides the big 4. Use them!

I agree that he does seem to have slowed down a bit. However I will give him the same excuse that many make for Ryan. I know the run blocking is a little better than the pass blocking, but you really can't run effectively when the line isn't making any holes to run through. I am willing to bet anyone that if the line open up holes, Turner will make you change your minds.

But it would help if we didn't run from power sets all the time. Prime example: Titans game. We ran a lot from the 3WR 1TE 1RB look and Turner punished the Titans all game because they couldn't crowd the box because of 3 WR threats instead of just 2. You can't put a safety in the box against that formation without being at a big disadvantage as a defense. You can only have 6 men in the box and 5 DBs. So now you have less LBs to stop the run against a guy like Turner. That's not pretty and that's what we saw.

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he is trying to be patient and find the hole, but the way our line played last yr made that hard to do... I think turner has lost a step but his line made it look far worse then it really is... Gotta be patient running the ball, cnt just attack the line.
I'd call it the T.J. Duckett effect. When he first started playing he would try to hit the line fast like the poster above is suggesting Turner do. Reeves snatched his as out of the line up and told him if you don't read and wait for the hole to develop then I will bench you forever. When he started doing that he had more success. Of course that's when the clueless fans started saying he was tipping. rolleyes.gif
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I know it's a slow time of year, and I know this is D Led we're talking about. But did he really write an article stating that our workhorse running back is ready IF needed?

The original title of this particular article was "Atlanta Falcons: Micheal Turner Is Ready If Needed" when I posted the article this morning. However, the title of that article has now been changed to "Atlanta Falcons: Get ready for ‘The Burner & Quizz Show". Same article, different title.

http://blogs.ajc.com...ta_falcons_blog

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Yet, people on this board continue the "There are only so many balls to go around" argument when the players getting those balls are saying if they do less, the whole will do more. It's not rocket science. We have players who can make plays besides the big 4. Use them!

But it would help if we didn't run from power sets all the time. Prime example: Titans game. We ran a lot from the 3WR 1TE 1RB look and Turner punished the Titans all game because they couldn't crowd the box because of 3 WR threats instead of just 2. You can't put a safety in the box against that formation without being at a big disadvantage as a defense. You can only have 6 men in the box and 5 DBs. So now you have less LBs to stop the run against a guy like Turner. That's not pretty and that's what we saw.

I agree.

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Why is everybody so determined that Michael Turner is finished? All I've heard on these blogs is that he's fat, slowing down and isn't the player he once was. For the past four (4) years "the burner" has done all that is expected of him and has given the best that a player of his caliber can give. Sure, at some point he will slow down as he gets older, and he will be replaced as all aging football players experience. As falcons fans lets not tear down players that are giving the best they can. Athletes are human being like anyone else; they have both strengths and weaknesses. Michael Turner's strengths far outweigh his weaknesses and he has the potential to be a :"hall of famer". His value as a veteran on the team can help in the maturation of Jacquizz Rodgers as well. Let's not forget that as a positive, his value to the team's morale is an essential part of getting the Falcons to the next level. I hope that we can see great adn the good in this vitally iimportant "cog" in the Falcons.

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I agree that he does seem to have slowed down a bit. However I will give him the same excuse that many make for Ryan. I know the run blocking is a little better than the pass blocking, but you really can't run effectively when the line isn't making any holes to run through. I am willing to bet anyone that if the line open up holes, Turner will make you change your minds.

Agreed and his track record isn't half bad over the years either 4300+ yards and 50 TD's in 4 seasons and one of those seasons he missed 4 games man I just find it really hard to bag a guy like Turner when he consistently regardless of O-line play punches out numbers like these and has only been really injured once in 4 years but still gets the job done.I think with his reduced reps this year it will allow us to lean on him more going down the stretch.

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Why is everybody so determined that Michael Turner is finished? All I've heard on these blogs is that he's fat, slowing down and isn't the player he once was. For the past four (4) years "the burner" has done all that is expected of him and has given the best that a player of his caliber can give. Sure, at some point he will slow down as he gets older, and he will be replaced as all aging football players experience. As falcons fans lets not tear down players that are giving the best they can. Athletes are human being like anyone else; they have both strengths and weaknesses. Michael Turner's strengths far outweigh his weaknesses and he has the potential to be a :"hall of famer". His value as a veteran on the team can help in the maturation of Jacquizz Rodgers as well. Let's not forget that as a positive, his value to the team's morale is an essential part of getting the Falcons to the next level. I hope that we can see great adn the good in this vitally iimportant "cog" in the Falcons.

burner is to burger as cog is to hog.

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Yeah I agree Vel. I want to see Turner and the rest of our backs in a 3 WR set. Split Tony out wide and make it look like a 4 receiver set. Just throw something different out there. Line has to block for that though. I think Pat Hill is one of the best hires for us.

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ready for second breakfast? I wonder if Mike Smith knows about second breakfast,

LMFAO

I think turner is fading away slightly, but most of it has to do with his inconsistent weight gaining. I would demand him coming in at 235-245 if I was his GM. He did look dominant in stretches last season, but can't be healthy gaining and losing all that weight.

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LMFAO

I think turner is fading away slightly, but most of it has to do with his inconsistent weight gaining. I would demand him coming in at 235-245 if I was his GM. He did look dominant in stretches last season, but can't be healthy gaining and losing all that weight.

If he could drop 35-40 pounds he could still have a few years of great production but he seems to be headed to for the short yardage/bruiser role. He can still do damage at 270, but most of it is going to be to his knees.

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