Tony Dungy tells Mike Smith, ‘Get Michael Turner back involved’

Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner carries the ball into the end zone for the winning touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. Atlanta defeated Washington 24-17. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner carries the ball into the end zone for the winning touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. Atlanta defeated Washington 24-17. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)


FLOWERY BRANCH – NBC analyst Tony Dungy, who helped build Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl XXXVII team and guided the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl XLI victory, was not too impressed with Falcons coach Mike Smith throwing the ball 52 times against the Redskins.

“I have a bone to pick with Mike Smith,” Dungy said. “I love Matt Ryan, too, but don’t forget about your running game. This was a team that was built on defense and running the ball. Get Michael Turner back involved.”

This little gripe was after Turner carried the ball for a season-high 18 times against Washington.

MICHAEL TURNER’S 2012 STATS

Team     carries    yards   TDs

K.C.            11            32        0

Den            17            42        1

S.D.            14            80       1

Car             13           103      0

Wash         18              67       1

Totals:      73            324       3

Dungy’s comments are timely, because even though the league is shifting to becoming more of a passing operation, some of the top teams in 2012 are running the ball down defense’s throats.

Four teams – San Francisco (311 yards), New England (251), New York Giants (243) and Chicago (214)– rushed for more than 200 yards on Sunday and all of them, like the Falcons, are in first place.

Turner’s 324 yards is 15th in the league. The team has been trying to cut Turner’s carries for the last couple of seasons.

He’s averaging 14.6 carries per game, which projects out to 233 carries for the season.

Turner had 301 carries last season, 334 in 2010 and 376 in 2008.

In each of those 300-plus carry seasons, Turner rushed for more than 1,300 yards. He’s on pace to rush for 1,037 yards.

While Dungy wants to see some more Turner, fellow NBC analyst Rodney Harrison liked that Ryan recovered from his interception and fumble to lead the Falcons to victory over the Redskins.

“This is the Matt Ryan that we didn’t see last year, coming back from these types of mistakes,” Harrison said.

ESPN’s analyst Mike Ditka still has a bad taste in his mouth from the Falcons’ playoff loss to the New York Giants.

“Unless you win in the playoffs, you’re going to be known as next year’s champions,” Ditka said when asked if he could trust these Falcons.

The Falcons may be 5-0, but clearly they are not winning in the national broadcast court of public opinion.

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100 comments Add your comment

Ben

October 9th, 2012
12:48 pm

Ben

October 9th, 2012
12:49 pm

Its okay, just keep winning and when we’re 8-0 they won’t have a choice but to pay attention. Disagree with Dungy. Ryan has a hot hand right now, gotta ride him with the weapons he has in the passing game.

TURTSNAP

October 9th, 2012
12:51 pm

I see that side, but here is a flip-side. Matt threw 52 times, but completed a high percentage I believe? At least 60%, which keeps the clock running regardless of whether you are running or throwing, no?

Slick

October 9th, 2012
12:52 pm

“I have a bone to pick with Mike Smith,” Dungy said. “I love Matt Ryan, too, but don’t forget about your running game. This was a team that was built on defense and running the ball. Get Michael Turner back involved.”

How many playoff games did that win us, coach? How about let’s try it this way this year and see what happens?

Adogg36

October 9th, 2012
12:53 pm

Randy

October 9th, 2012
1:00 pm

Yep, you tell him Tony. It’s apparent that Smitty does not know what he’s doing. Look at all the games that he’s lost this year!!!!! LOL

Adogg36

October 9th, 2012
1:02 pm

Enter your comments here
If we get turner involed we will open up da play action pass.Da numbers dont lie its like Night an Day.

True American Hero

October 9th, 2012
1:05 pm

Look, its not that we don’t want to run the ball. Be honest, we haven’t been able to run. Its not that we need to get the ball to Turner, its that we need to give the ball to a back that will actually run it and get it down field. I don’t place the blame completely on Turner, the O-line has some part to play in this, but as for Turner the guy has to do something other than run into the back of his own O-line and think he’s going to drive his way to a first down.

watchforbird-ish

October 9th, 2012
1:06 pm

Dungy.. You can STFU!!

watchforbird-ish

October 9th, 2012
1:08 pm

Best in the league.. We score at will.. We don’t show all of our playbook.. Turner can burn or eat clock. Pick your Poison!

watchforbird-ish

October 9th, 2012
1:09 pm

Thank You.. Mr.Blank :-)

Answer This

October 9th, 2012
1:09 pm

We will need Turner involved when everyone keeps talking about….the playoffs! If he is fresh and his legs are ready we will be merciless in the playoffs! No 52 times is not idea…but when we can do it and win…..who cares how many times it was! Turner will get his touches he just must prove to be ready when he does!

Falcons 73

October 9th, 2012
1:10 pm

The old adage of “having to run the football to win” just doesn’t hold weight anymore. Sure, if you can have balance between run and pass that would be ideal, but at the end of the day the only result that matters is winning.

I’ll take a fresh Michael Turner at the end of the season, as opposed to a run down back that has nothing left to contribute. Also, the fact that you are forcing Matt Ryan to step up now and mature in the passing game, will only lead to better results when the Falcons are in crunch/playoff type situation.

True American Hero

October 9th, 2012
1:14 pm

@Answer This, Turner is fresh now and he still isn’t going anywhere. I’m not saying Turner isn’t a good back, he is actually a great back. Its just as of late, he continues to run into a pile of defenders and expects to gain yards. That can’t happen. Not all the games we play will always be sunny, indoors, or in ideal conditions. Light rain this weekend against the skins definitely had an effect on our receivers catching the ball. Those are good times when we need to be able to pick up yards on the ground to make the passing game more effective.

jim

October 9th, 2012
1:16 pm

Keep Turner fresh for the long haul. It ain’t a sprint.

Decon

October 9th, 2012
1:36 pm

Keeping Turner as fresh as possible for the playoffs could work out great in the end. He’s fresh and ready to go and we can ride him through the playoffs to the Super Bowl!

Diggity

October 9th, 2012
1:38 pm

Hmm lets see…Mike Smith is a current coach in the NFL….Dungy NBC analyst that cant get a coaching job.

to real

October 9th, 2012
1:44 pm

Tha great teams find ways to win even when they not playing their best football u take wateva it is dat other team def gives u its no secrect we loaded with weponds so wat ova dat other team allows u to do dats how we win

observer

October 9th, 2012
1:44 pm

Who cares what Dungy says? It’s pretty hard to get Turner involved when his typical run is 1 yard up the middle and fall down quickly. He is the slowest RB in the league. Can’t throw him screens because he can’t catch the ball. Getting Turner more involved will kill the offense.

Dawgbone

October 9th, 2012
1:52 pm

The sad part is that MT is not capable of getting involved in the game. Look at his stats and compare them to any other team and a high profile back. Unfortunately, MT’s time is past and the Falcon’s need a big fast back that can make cuts and long runs. Give Mike a beer and let him watch the game next year at home…

Jimmy Crack

October 9th, 2012
1:59 pm

5-0, Tony, 5-0!!

Puma

October 9th, 2012
2:23 pm

I am pretty sure Tony could get a coaching job if he wanted to, in a heartbeat.

With that said, I think our offence is looking pretty good, maybe the best I have ever seen as a Falcons fan, which granted only goes back to the days of Jerry Glanville

Ditka?

October 9th, 2012
2:52 pm

Why do they keep talking about winning in the playoffs. This is the regular season, the next game is always the most important one. The playoffs will come soon enough.

james

October 9th, 2012
2:56 pm

Since when have any of the National Broadcasters had anything good to say about the Falcons,as far as I’m concerned they can stick it.

Michael M.

October 9th, 2012
3:42 pm

I never listen to what those folks say on those sports network channels………………all that matters is what us locals and the Team says and does…………….they saying 5 – 0 right now and undefeated……..hahahahaha…………do the Falcons look like they need advice from Fox Sunday or Dumfy or any of those so called experts or rather idiots ? I say they all can ” STICK IT ” to where their is plenty of room but no sunshine………………………hehehehe

Big Crimson 75

October 9th, 2012
3:51 pm

Yea!! I laughed hysterically when Dungy said we were built on Defense!!
Before this year we haven’t had one.

HC007

October 9th, 2012
3:52 pm

What Dungy doesn’t see is that we’re taken what the defense is given us, if they load th box, we thow, only rushing four, we run.

jay

October 9th, 2012
3:57 pm

running and defense? running maybe, but when was this team built on defense?

billyho55

October 9th, 2012
4:11 pm

DUNGY IS A FOOL IF THAT IS HIS HONEST OPINION! HE NEEDS TO STICK TO BEING THE “FATHER FIGURE” TO ALL THESE CONVICTS AND LET THE REAL COACHES DO THEIR JOBS! THE MAN HAD PEYTON MANNING AND MANAGED TO WIN ONLY ONE SUPER BOWL! THAT SAYS ENOUGH TO ME ABOUT MR DUNGY AS A HEAD COACH AND WHAT’S BETWEEN HIS EARS!

billyho55

October 9th, 2012
4:15 pm

DON’T GET ME WRONG THOUGH, AS A MAN HE IS TOP SHELF! JUST NEEDS TO SETTLE HIS ARSE DOWN ON THIS TOPIC!

SawThat1nce

October 9th, 2012
4:35 pm

Mike Dicktka sux.

Esquire

October 9th, 2012
5:05 pm

MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS!!!

Rocki84

October 9th, 2012
5:11 pm

The problem with Turner is that he couldn’t find a hole if it was underneath his own feet. I have never seen a RB run into the back of his own line as much as Turner. Bounce outside, make some moves, hit the hole quicker, blow open some holes, do something other than bouncing off your own line! Turner has clearly lost his vision and quickness! He gets lucky once or twice a game and everyone is happy with his performance.

Dirty Bird

October 9th, 2012
5:31 pm

Do what wins, and passing wins.

Of course, we need to get the run going as well.

Getaway

October 9th, 2012
5:34 pm

Mike Smith to Tony Dungy – Look at the camera when you’re giving advice, not the has-been or never-was sitting next to you. And blink fer chrisakes!

Getaway

October 9th, 2012
5:39 pm

Turner needs what A. Foster has, someone to lead the way. His fullback was the one finding the holes – that Houston’s cut-blocking was creating.

DR. FALCON

October 9th, 2012
6:24 pm

TURNER IS STILL A PLOW HORSE1 HE STILL HAS HIS JETS, AS THE 68YD SCREEN PASS HE TOOK TO THE HOUSE 2 WEEKS AGO! HE NEEDS 20 CARRIES ATLEAST! GREAT JOB, THOUGH COACH KOETTER!

PapaK

October 9th, 2012
6:37 pm

Opinions are like A-holes, everyone has one. Who cares what Dungy or Ditka think. It’s fun being a Falcon fan, enjoy the moment.

Loyalfalconfrmthemississippi

October 9th, 2012
6:52 pm

I think turner would be better if our line could block better and create holes but we clearly need a new feature back cause when your line dont make holes the back has to be able to cut to the outside or create holes himeself. Turner is just getting to old and i dont think he has the power he used to have and hes definately not fast, get it together ole boy or you may be retiring after this year. Go falcons

Loyalfalconfrmthemississippi

October 9th, 2012
6:53 pm

I think our line needs a serious upgrade as well

falCANS

October 9th, 2012
7:43 pm

Turner is a pound & grind type of RB needs at least 25 carries …. Glad it was brought up by Dungy and hope Coach takes heed. The Play Action was horrible against washington and made Ryans targets smaller. Run Defense is attrocious…Start Peterson Now!!! Please!! Every team seen how weak or run def is.

Anyway Best team in Nfl

Falcon James

October 9th, 2012
7:44 pm

I am sure when Coach Smith wants Dunge’s opinion, he will give it to him.

J

October 9th, 2012
8:35 pm

I partially agree with Dungy’s comments. The fact of the matter as others have noticed we have a 5-0 start, no adjustments needed there. And, it also almost guarantees that Turner will be healthy in the latter part of the season, in December when it counts during the playoffs. Hopefully he will be fresh when needed.

Jay

October 9th, 2012
8:38 pm

Ignore Dungy…this team’s identity has changed, for the better. How far did we go with an offense based on Turner? Nowhere in th playoffs.

It was time for a change and to play to our roster.

J

October 9th, 2012
8:39 pm

What I’d like to see in addition to the wonderful start? A few sound wrinkles that can be used when we need 4th and 1 like in last years playoffs. How about putting number 61 in front of Turner, or a Tightend up front ahead of turner. We need a dominate blocking back for Turner. Hopefully, a wrinkle like this can and will be added to the team already good performance.

Nowwehaveasecondary!

October 9th, 2012
9:38 pm

In Koetter I trust.

Just think what this offense could be like next year if we draft a running back similar to Ray Rice or LeSean McCoy.

JR1967

October 9th, 2012
10:00 pm

When the local NFL team wins its first playoff game since January 2005, then maybe the national media will give them their due respect. Fast starts like 5-0 are well and good, but winning in the playoffs are all that matters.

StillDirtyBirdin

October 9th, 2012
10:09 pm

DLed,

Sorry to be a pedant, but the Giants are not technically in first place- Philly has them beat due to division record. “If the playoffs started today…” they wouldn’t be in. Then the media-verse would explode. I agree though, Turner could stand to tote the rock a few more times.

Dan

October 9th, 2012
10:59 pm

Just stop passing the ball to Turner! He drops balls like he is dropping the benjamins at Magic City! Its like watching Smooth shooting those long jumpers for the Hawks, You are like WTH??? Finally they brought in Snelling and were doing the screens to him.

Mike

October 10th, 2012
12:02 am

Dungy has never cared for the Falcons, he only mentions them now because of their record. Our coaches are fine without his opinion.