Running back Michael Turner has been a workhorse for the Atlanta Falcons since joining the team in 2008.
He’s had three seasons where he’s carried the ball over 300 times, which is a lot of abuse in the NFL. In fact, Turner led the league in carries in both 2008 and 2010 and was second in 2011. Now the 30-year old back is facing another season and he may not be relied on as heavily as he was in the past.
Falcons running backs coach Gerald Brown spoke with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and hinted that Turner could lose some carries this season.
“Michael has been our workhorse for a few years. We 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, too.”
Add in the fact that the Falcons are likely going to air the ball out more this season now that they have Julio Jones and Roddy White.
This doesn’t mean that Turner won’t put up solid numbers, because he will. Ever since joining the Falcons he’s been able to put up double-digit touchdown seasons every single year. This news just means that you should be cautious when thinking about drafting Turner. Be aware that his numbers could dip a little bit.
Also, while this news mainly affects Turners, it’s also good news for backup running back Jacquizz Rodgers. Brown spoke specifically about getting Rodgers involved in the offense.
“This offseason again, we think it can do nothing but make [Rodgers] 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 ball.”
Rodgers was a fifth round draft pick by the Falcons in 2011 and at 5-6 he’s an explosive player out of the backfield. He had 21 receptions as a rookie, but that number should increase in his sophomore year.
Right now Rodgers is being drafted in round 12 in 12-team leagues. He’s worth a flier at the end of drafts, especially in PPR leagues.