Atlanta Falcons: Tomlinson, Faulk weigh-in on Michael Turner, run game

FLOWERY BRANCH – Retired running backs turned broadcasters LaDainian Tomlinson and Marshall Faulk weighed in on the Falcons running game.

Tomlinson came to the defense of his former understudy Michael Turner on Wednesday and Faulk was accused of nitpicking by the Falcons, who called him after one of his segments aired on The NFL Network.

Tomlinson, during his show with Ross Tucker on SiriusXM NFL radio, was asked about what was wrong with Turner.

What is wrong with the Falcons' short yardage rushing attack?

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“He’s going to finish the season with fewer carries than he has ever had,” Tomlinson said. “Obviously, that means that they don’t run the ball as much as they used to.”

Turner paid homage to Tomlinson earlier this season in San Diego and struck his favorite pose after scoring a touchdown.

He believes it’s harder for Turner to get into a rhythm with fewer carries. Turner had 13 carries and rushed for 15 yards against the New Orleans Saints.

On the season, Turner has 141 carries for 562 yards and four touchdowns.

“It takes rhythm,” Tomlinson said. “You have to run the football on a consistent basis to be good at it. You have to practice it in practice and you’ve got to get good at it.

“You can’t make the transition to a passing team and expect to be the same type of running team. That just doesn’t happen. A part of that is the way the Atlanta Falcons are transitioning into a passing team. Well, they don’t run the ball the same way that they used to.”

Here’s what Faulk had to say, “(Sunday) morning talking about Atlanta Falcons, they called me and said I was nitpicking because on the Marshall Plan. I said the one thing you have to do when play an offense, that’s as explosive as you are as we saw with the Saints, your run plays have to have more productive.

“Last week (Turner) had 20 carries, 102 yards. One carry was for 40 yards and the other 19 he averaged three yards a carry. If you are running it three times, fourth-and-one, you have to punt.

“If you are going to run the football, just like the Saints (on Sunday), those runs must be productive and at times Michael Turner or the offensive line or combined they don’t get that production to go along with the explosiveness of the receivers and the passing game.”


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62 comments Add your comment

[...] Atlanta Falcons: Tomlinson, Faulk weigh-in on Michael Turner, run gameAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Tomlinson came to the defense of his former understudy Michael Turner on Wednesday and Faulk was accused of nitpicking by the Falcons, who called him after one of his segments aired on The NFL Network. Tomlinson, during his show with Ross Tucker on …and more » [...]

Preston Thompson

November 14th, 2012
2:51 pm

Running the ball is just like passing in the sense you can only sustain blocks for so long. Mention has been made of chip blocks by the backs and tight ends. With the linemen, by the time Turner gets to the line they are close to holding. Turner never seems to run straight at a spot. The first move he makes is some kind of a juke step that waste time. To much time. He’s very seldom runs with power and just hitting him around his feet stops the run. He just does not run with power or speed anymore. That’s why I say it’s past time to give Smith his shot. We know what Snelling can do so now let’s see what Smith can do for a whole game.


November 14th, 2012
2:54 pm

It hard to have it both ways last year we complained about it being TOO many runs and now we are complaning about it not vbeing enough I mean damn e cant have it both ways it just doesnt work like that often in pro football…FIRST


November 14th, 2012
3:00 pm

I’m happy they pass block well personally. That’s more effective this year.

The screen game IS our running game.

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

November 14th, 2012
3:11 pm

If they keep running Turner and expect anything more than a one or two yard gain…then that’s on the coaching staff and not on the O-Line or on Turner.

Why not try a different running back and see what happens??


November 14th, 2012
3:41 pm




November 14th, 2012
3:45 pm

In watching the MNF game last night, I still saw a lot of A and B gaps when the Steelers were on offense. It is not all Turner because we tend to bunch right up togther on the OL.


November 14th, 2012
3:46 pm

I can’t believe its NOT Turner any longer. Quizz averaged close to 10 yrds per run (albeit not in known rushing situations such as 3rd-1 or 3rd and goal). And the O-line is holding up fine in pass protection which I believe is more difficult than run blocking. Obviously its a combination of poor blocking and poor running but the bulk of the problems lie with Turner. Give someone else a few carries in short yardage situations PLEASE! And I am a bit confused…who, exactly, called Marshall??


November 14th, 2012
3:47 pm

Billyho…Um…I may not have seen LT on NFL Network…but you defintely made sure we’d see your “screaming at the top of your lungs”


November 14th, 2012
3:50 pm

Billyho you don’t have to be mean spirited Tomlinson and Faulk made some good points.


November 14th, 2012
3:52 pm

I know Mud Duck has too much class to call out a teammate but he sure came close after the Aints game. Any ideas to what he thought the problem was D-LED?


November 14th, 2012
4:05 pm

maybe they need to run to different gaps. the off tackle power run has not been there for several years. bounce it or run it outside. mostly they have to give different looks. we are way too predictable in those situations and it is costing us games. altho’ i thought the excessive celebration penally on samuel was the key mistake of the game.


November 14th, 2012
4:12 pm

Yea I have to agree they did make some good points.We have went to a pass first team and really dats a good thang because thats what the league about these days.


November 14th, 2012
4:23 pm

Barry Sanders got his yards with an awful line. You gotta have some Want-to .


November 14th, 2012
4:27 pm

Adogg must have went to public schools and dropped out. Obama loves you, just ax him dat.


November 14th, 2012
4:45 pm

If the context of what M. Faulk said on Sunday and repeated in follow-up interviews is accurately summarized in the last paragraph above, he told nothing but the truth.

This whole week, the general mood in the Falcon interviews seems to be agitated/irritated and highly-sensitive to any line of questioning.

Bigger Lineman

November 14th, 2012
5:00 pm

We need big lineman like the Texans. If we had them, I guarantee Turner would get it easily.

I think we should have QB sneaked the ball until we got in. Just saying….


November 14th, 2012
5:02 pm

This team wouldn’t be were it is without Turner but that said I don’t understanding his method of running the ball. When he gets five or six yards of clear space to build up speed then it is difficult to stop him. You see those big yardage run late in the second half all the time. But to out run someone on the corners or make people miss, I rarely see it. Maybe it’s my eyes. If we had a running game to match the passing game, and some sacks, we could be unstoppable. But we don’t so It is all on Ryan’s shoulders.

Bigger Lineman

November 14th, 2012
5:03 pm

@Edd….You should look up Barry Sanders playoff numbers on yards per carry. Worst than Turners.

Barry is one of the best but even he could not get into that end zone.


November 14th, 2012
5:17 pm

A lot of times one and two yard line runs near the goal are the toughest just by sheer numbers. How many times do you see teams get stuffed on 1 and 2 down near the goal to score on the 3rd down with the pass. Look at our first score, Johnson rolled out and was all alone. I think we need to be as creative as possible inside the 10, we did that in the Philly game. I think Rodgers is your best weapon down there as well because he can run and become a 4th or 5th receiver, I would like to see him get more chances. He may not have explosive speed but he has explosive moves, to stop on a dime like that is exactly what you need down low. Imagine him running wide stopping and going north/south. Guys would break their ankles if they tried to stop like that, give him the opportunity. Plus he is a tough kid, let him try and find a crease down there. It would be easier for him than Turner.


November 14th, 2012
5:22 pm

Passing game is supposed to open up the run game. With all the offensive options we have, roddy, julio, tony, the defenses have to respect and cover them, but for whatever reason our runnng game can not get going. perhaps it is because we only run when they expect us to. I did notice that Turners best runs were on delayed hand offs. Not necessrily a full draw, but slight delay. When we just straight handed it to him, nothing. As they say in baseball, hit it where they ain’t.


November 14th, 2012
5:40 pm

Mike Smith appears to have rushing ATTEMPTS confused with rushing YARDAGE as a barometer of having a successful running game. In other words as long as Turner makes an attempt, although he gains nothing, the opponent has to respect the Falcons running game, because who knows, the next time he might gain a yard or two. The NFL is about landing haymakers, not little left jabs, which is about all Turner has left.


November 14th, 2012
6:03 pm

man turner could have scored in that goal line stand if he had just lowered he’s head and hit the hole hard he needs to run like he has a chip on his shoulder when u are third and 2 or 1 or on the goal line trying to put it in it’s time to go hard give it ya all get it done stick it in and that goes for the o line as well dig deep play with leverage get under the mans pads of the man lined up infront of u


November 14th, 2012
6:04 pm



November 14th, 2012
6:11 pm

Michael Turner has been a great RB for this team and probably the greatest free-agent signing ever by this franchise. Having said that, he is overweight and needs 2-3 yards to build up a head of steam. He’s not helping the running game. On the other hand the OL is not exactly blowing people off the line, either. If the Falcons can get their running game decent, they’ll be a real threat to win the Superbowl.


November 14th, 2012
6:14 pm

we should try running out of these pass formations i mean when i see two TE’S or the FB come in the game and we been in passing formations passing the hole time the other teams going to know we’re running when all a sudden we’re in a running formation or try passing out of the running formation some times


November 14th, 2012
6:32 pm

This article just wasted my time. Told me nothing. Turner has lost his burst and goes down upon first being touched. Can’t get to the hole before it closes. Hopefully we have plans to draft a top flight running back to go with Quiz and also a tight end. Losing Tony is going to kill us.


November 14th, 2012
6:49 pm

ATL has a number of variations of pass plays for each passing formation. But I don’t see a lot of variation in the running formations. Typically it’s a one back set. If there’s two backs in it is just as often still a pass play.
Those second or third and goals at the one just scream sweep to me or even an option if you’re not getting penetration up the middle.


November 14th, 2012
8:36 pm

I didn’t vote because there wasn’t an”all of the above” button.

PHL Falcons Fan

November 14th, 2012
8:46 pm

How do you coach vision? That’s my question.

If it’s like speed, intelligence, personality, you’re born with it or not, right?

But, there’s got to be a way to improve it. What have you guys seen work?

And, DLed, when you examine tape like the nice x/o’s piece, how often is Turner hitting the wrong hole, i.e., if the same guy with better vision got the ball, would the yards be there?


November 14th, 2012
8:56 pm

Turner is still a formidable running back. Everyone here seems to think it is easy to punch it in from the 1 yard line by running right up the middle. It can happen but it is NOT easy. I blame play calling more than Turner and the O-Line in that situation. It would be real nice if our O-Line could just bull doze or if our running back could just blow through five guys for a TD. This isn’t high school or college football though. The guys on the defensive line are professionals too. Most of them the best around. The Falcons have work to do on perfecting the run game but I strongly advise against throwing the baby out with the bath water. Rather it will involve refinement of blocking schemes and play selection based on personnel and situation. Our O-Line is not at the bull dozer level yet (although I saw one NICE bull doze on that 3rd and one QB Sneak) so our play selection should not assume that that are until they consistently perform that way (soon, I hope). Had one of Matt Ryan’s last three passes connected, there probably wouldn’t be too much concern about the run game.

Falcon James

November 14th, 2012
9:36 pm

Let’s just face fact. Turner is washed up. He like a KIA. Ran fine for the first 100K miles, then you have to start working on it and get another car as a backup (Quizz). . Then at 200K, the car is basically a POS and needs to be recycled at the junk yard. Well Turner run like he got 300K on him.


November 14th, 2012
9:54 pm

hmmm……last i heard in 2011 about us, that this was a pass happy league according to the analysts lol. now they re back at it again saying the opposite lol. ya analysts sure as hell dont know what the hell ya want out of us lol. passing was an issue with us in 2011, now when we address that this year, they take aim at issues with our run game. kinda reminds me of the democrats vs republicans. they point out problems instead of fixing them lol.

Mike Mularkey's subconscious mind

November 14th, 2012
10:00 pm

Hand the ball to Turner…..


November 14th, 2012
10:16 pm

Turner is a formidable back…lol. Most of you only go by the sportscenter stats and highlights of Turner when he breaks off one long run to make his rushing stats look good. When he first arrived, yes he was explosive and was hungry to prove that he could play in the NFL. Now it looks like that hunger has turned into a hunger for food and resulted in him putting on 50 plus pounds. He is at the age for RBs when the production drops off, slow and does not run with power until he has broken the line of scrimmage, always tip toeing.

Next Man Up

November 14th, 2012
10:27 pm

You know what? I was just thinking that we wouldn’t have anything to lose if we could sign Tiki Barber free agent to help out our RBs the rest of this year. He is hungry and in shape and will give 110% to get the 1 yrd runs on 3rd and 4th down when we need it. Turner needs to lose some weight and quit tip toeing sideways while the whole 11 defenders converge on him in the back field. I think the OL needs to work on firing off the line instead of getting pushed backwards on short yardage runs. We have time from now until the first playoff game to work and get this fixed.


November 14th, 2012
10:31 pm

For those who think MT is struggling because of the OL obviously has not watched every game he has played in. He has been notorious for getting stopped behind the line of scrimmage the past couple of years. This is nothing new, it is just getting more exposure because the Falcons were undefeated and the passing game is finally exciting. Yes he was putting up 1500 yds a season but if you watched all of the games, the majority of his yds came against the weaker teams. As a fan who has seen every game since MT arrived, I can’t think of one game where we have played a big time team and he has dominated. He pads his stats against the likes of the Jags, Panthers, Rams or Browns. He has never carried us to victory against the top tier teams…just sayin

Falcon James

November 14th, 2012
10:37 pm

Pound cake, stripper pole, and a 40 in the end zone. If that don’t work……cut him.


November 15th, 2012
1:12 am

Turner, you are the man, this year we the fans have seem a differences in the team ever, stop tip-toeing threw the tulips, we are depending on you, you run hard, WE WILL WIN THE SUPERBOWL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS IS THE YEAR, HALL OF FAME?

[...] to Original Content From Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog): read more Related Articles Share About Author [...]

savannah dawg

November 15th, 2012
7:20 am

Can you say Jason Snelling? That dude can get one yard.


November 15th, 2012
7:42 am

Tomlinson is defending his friend from old times and I think Faulk is somewhat right. However, the OL is doing a good job opening holes, but Turner is too slow to hit them. I believe in rhythm, but 2 and 3 yards a carry will not get it. It is a bunch of teams in the NFL with depleted or subpar OL, but their backs hit the holes hard and pick up good yardage. Turner is like a old lawnmower, where you have to keep pulling to start up. All other backs get going early, by hitting the hole. Jason Snelling hit the hole hard when he get to play. Face it Turner is slow and looks like to me he have gotten bigger. If he dedicated time to getting in better shape coming into the season, he might be in the top 5 backs. He is slow and heavy, so stop trying to sugar coat it.

Jimmy Crack

November 15th, 2012
8:14 am

Thanks for the non-information. I could have extracted more information out of parking lot vendor at the Georgia Dome on why Turner and our offensive line can’t gain ONE FRIGGING YARD than these two NFL “family” members, whose answer to an ineffective running back is to give him the ball MORE???

Yea, we’ll all open wider and swallow that one.

[...] LaDainian Tomlinson, Marshall Faulk weigh-in on Falcons’ sub-par run game [...]

Open Minded

November 15th, 2012
12:54 pm

By the time Turner hits the line…. Berlin could have rebuilt the wall!! He is running in slow motion.
We really need to go to a back that has some quickness and real speed.


November 15th, 2012
2:51 pm

Time to make way for the young folks. Thanks Mike for all you do but you’ve got to get up at least a yard.

[...] LaDainian Tomlinson, Marshall Faulk weigh-in on Falcons’ sub-par run game [...]

[...] LaDainian Tomlinson, Marshall Faulk weigh-in on Falcons’ sub-par run game [...]


November 15th, 2012
7:36 pm

Turner is too old and too slow and too fat, Rodgers is too small, the OL is not big or strong enough..
equals 1 yard and a cloud of dust….except when we need ONE yard..

[...] LaDainian Tomlinson, Marshall Faulk weigh-in on Falcons’ sub-par run game [...]