FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons running back Michael Turner has had some time to reflect on the team’s anemic rushing output against the Saints.
“You’ve got to expect things to get tougher as the year goes on and especially if you’re a good team, people are going to give you their best shot,” said Turner, who rushed for 15 yards on 13 carries and was stuffed on a key third-and-goal from the Saints’ 1-yard line with 1:56 to play “So we have to be prepared for everybody’s best shot.”
Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said that Turner had “no chance” on most of his runs as there were free runners at the point of attack.
“That’s what I’m saying,” said Turner when asked if it was tough to run with three defenders in the backfield at times. “Sometimes defenses are going to have good schemes against us and be able to get good penetration and things like that. It’s just something we have to handle and run different types of plays sometimes and just clean it up.”
Turner has rushed for 529 yards on 140 carries and scored four touchdowns as the Falcons have shifted to becoming more of a passing team.
“Everybody’s going to nitpick,” Turner said. “We’re a different team this year, obviously with philosophies and things like that, but I mean we’re 8-1. That’s the bottom line; to get Ws.
“We’re not worried about it. Of course we want to get better and improve in all areas we need to improve in and just maintain the things we’re doing great. We’ve just got to keep going, keep grinding.”
Turner admits that he’s adjusting to not being the featured player in the offense.
“It’s different for me,” said Turner, who average more than 20 carries in 59 games before this season with the Falcons. “But ‘get in where you fit it.’ Do your role. Roles change all the time. Roles change from week to week. You just have to be able to adjust.”
The reality has set in for Turner that the Falcons have joined the crowd. They are now a passing team in a passing league.
Turner, a two-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro player, had more than 300 carries in three of the past four seasons. He led the league in carries in 2008 with 376 and 2010 with 334.
“Oh yeah, it was talked about,” Turner said. “It’s been talked about for years, but this year it’s finally showing. But there is nothing that I can do really.
“Everything is revolving around the quarterback and we have a great one and he’s striving to be elite. You have to let him do his thing.”
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