Can the Falcons Keep Jason Snelling?

Will Birds Be Able to Afford the Stud RB?

Can Falcons Keep Snelling? (C.Compton/AJC)

Even though re-signing Brent Grimes is the biggest off-season priority, one that figures to be very close in nature is whether or not the Falcons will be able to hold onto backup and extremely versatile running back Jason Snelling. Falcons resident stud writer D. Orlando Ledbetter just posted a topic on whether Snelling can start for another team. Since almost all of Falcon Nation believe that the Birds should re-up him (some even think he should become the feature back), the question will be “how much should they pay” to keep #44.

Pay Him as Falcons Future Starter

No, they won’t be able to pay him “quite” as much as they paid Michael Turner when they snagged him away from San Diego, but if they treat Snelling as the next in line ready to pick up after Turner hits his expected slow down, the transition for the next generation at running back in Atlanta will seamless and superb.

Turner Running to the 30 Curse

Turner Speeding to 30 (J.Getz/AJC)

Turner is still the current unquestioned starter and stud for the Falcons rushing attack, but several things come into play here that gives every indication the Birds HAVE to re-sign Snelling almost at all costs. Even though he’s made the Pro Bowl in 2 out of 3 years and still has a good amount of gas left in the tank, Turner has seen an amazingly heavy workload the last three years, racking up almost 900 carries in less than 3 seasons (missed 5 games in 2009 due to high ankle sprains). The most loyal Turner fans will even admit that he’s definitely slowed down a good bit and doesn’t seem to have the same burst he once had. He’ll be 29 this year, but the following season will see him hit the dreaded 30 year old curse that even the most productive and fit of backs, such as Ladanian Tomlinson, haven’t been able to escape. They basically have the best of both worlds with Snelling. Not only did he have just 28 rushes before 2009, but he also knows the playbook and offense very well and has been drafted and developed by the Falcons.

All Backfield Passing Would Be Gone

Second, Snelling may not have the numbers that Turner has, but he definitely has more versatility in the passing game. Snelling has had 550+ receiving yards the last two seasons with 4 TDs. Compare that to a pitiful 23 receptions and barely over 100 yards receiving for Turner in 3 years, you have to see that the Falcons backfield would take a huge step back with him out of the picture.

Rodgers Not Ready Yet

Third, yes Jacquizz Rodgers was taken in this year’s draft, but he has not seen one page of the Falcons playbook, nor spent anytime with the voluntary workouts in Atlanta. Anyone expecting him to be able to come in and immediately pick up Snelling’s workload would asking entirely too much. He may have promise, but Rodgers would have some big shoes to fill with Snelling gone. Throw in the fact that Jerious Norwood can’t stay healthy for more than a few quarters and the other running backs, Antone Smith and Gartrell Johnson, have shown they are incapable of meaningful contributions and the Birds are only a sprain away from catastrophe in the backfield.

Do Falcons Really Need to Stock Another Position?

Finally, the Falcons will find themselves in a very precarious situation very rapidly. Michael Turner has been an awesome workhorse for the Falcons and still has some left, but the Falcons have to build for the future and signing Snelling at almost all costs is a necessity. The new trend in the NFL is a two-back system, and even though Snelling isn’t extremely complementary to Turner, one could argue he has more long-term value both in the running and passing game going forward. Snelling may be offered money to be a starting running back elsewhere, and frankly the Falcons may simply be out priced, but Dimitroff should do everything in his power to keep the Falcons future starting running back. With so many other positions aging quickly (Gonzalez, Abraham, White, McClure) aging rapidly, they can avoid this one by keeping it in house. A six year, $21 million dollar deal shouldn’t be out of the question to solidify the Falcons backfield for many, many years.

No, Do Not Overpay

Yes, it will be painful to let Jason Snelling go somewhere else and the Falcons should do everything they can to keep him, but they shouldn’t overpay to keep Snelling with the fear that he will replicate what Turner did with the Falcons when he got his first starting job with the Falcons. Even though Turner is one of the best examples of a backup hitting the market rich and finding instant success, there are many more backups that floundered or had mixed results when they got their starting spot. It is true that Snelling has done extremely well, but the Falcons are simply committed to Turner since he has 3 more years left on his contract and has made the Pro Bowl in 2 out of his 3 years in red and black.

Rodgers Is More Complementary

Can Rodgers Fill Role? (D.Wolverton/Oregon State)

Jacquizz Rodgers may be young and inexperienced, but running back has proven to be one of the best positions where rookies can come in and make an immediate impact. And if anyone can take up Snelling’s slack, Rodgers definitely can be that guy. In just three years at Oregon State, Rodgers had 3,790 rushing yards, 46 TDS, 1,036 receiving yards, and 4 TDs. All while fumbling only one time. Yes, that’s correct ONE TIME! Sure, they may be some initial growing pains, but Rodgers has a ton of upside and is a true complementary back to Turner. Signing Snelling to long contract would essentially take away touches from the extremely talented Rodgers.

Handcuffed in Future Drafts

Locking up Snelling to a long-term contract would also completely prohibit them from drafting a running back essentially for the next 3-4 years, depending on how much his contract would be. Talented running backs are usually always in high supply and the Birds could really add an element of explosiveness to the backfield they currently lack. Turner and Snelling are grinders and Rodgers is shifty more than a true burner. You never know when the Falcons will be in a position to take the next Chris Johnson or Arian Foster.

Market Will Dictate a Reasonable Offer

Finally, the Falcons will be in an excellent position to know how much is too much when it comes to signing Snelling to a new deal. Although Atlanta fans love Snelling and want to keep him, he represents something of a second tier running back that will likely be available when free agency hits. Running backs who have proven they can be productive starters such as Deangelo Williams, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Ronnie Brown among several others will likely get the first wave of big deals and that will determine a reasonable market for Snelling. If teams like the Denver Broncos, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks, or and Arizona Cardinals, just to name a few, who need a frontline starter and think Snelling is their man, its going to be almost impossible for the Falcons to match what they could offer. After all, Turner is their current starter for the foreseeable future and they can’t pay for two starters. Snelling may represent potential, but Turner has made two Pro Bowls in three years and its hard to argue with that. Most of it will just come down to what Snelling wants. Does he want a max contract and a chance to start for a rebuilding team? Or does he want to get paid very well and possibly be the Falcons future starter?

Your Turn

  1. How much would you pay to keep Snelling
  2. Should they find a way to pay him as the Falcons future starter
  3. Will Falcons be in trouble if Snelling bolts
  4. Will Birds severely regret letting #44 go
  5. Can Jacquizz Rodgers fill Snelling’s big shoes
  6. What kind of a bind will they be in if Snelling does and Turner gets hurt
  7. What kind of a contract should the Falcons offer?

87 comments Add your comment

Unca' Bob

July 15th, 2011
10:07 am

Enter your comments here

Jeff Henager

July 15th, 2011
10:11 am

Why is Norwood still being talked about. Didn’t he have one carry that ended his season last year?
#6 – If the Falcons let Snelling go, and Turner got hurt, that would kill the chances of the Falcons making the playoffs. As for pay, they need to offer Snelling something bigger than most backups. Don’t forget the super job he did against Tampa Bay in the last game of 2009.

Paddy O

July 15th, 2011
10:36 am

long term, I think we MUST sign him. Turner will probably be phased out after 2011. Imagine a 2012 backfield of Snelling, Rogers & Ovie – all can catch, and while not as lethal a blocker as Turner, Snelling can too – and we all know how stout Ovie is. Plus, as Mr Henager says – we need an excellent insurance policy in case somebody goes down.

StillDirtyBirdin

July 15th, 2011
10:38 am

[Repost from other blog]

Can anyone with ESPNInsider give a synopsis of the new article on the Falcons’ D? It says we are close to “elite” and I’d like to know how/why.

And the Falcons need to keep Snelling for the reasons mentioned above. Also his HB/FB versatility is key, possibly allowing Snelling and Rogers in backfield at same time (resting Turner).

Rise Up!

RISE UP!

John Waynesworld

July 15th, 2011
10:47 am

Thanks, D3 for more stuff!

How much would you pay to keep Snelling? – Love the guy, but no more than 2 years with a slight raise and the prospect of being on a winner should be enough for a serviceable back.

Should they find a way to pay him as the Falcons future starter? – No. Jamie Dukes is right about the modern running back that every year there are dozens of “really good backs that come out of college”. Jacquizz may be one of those.

Will Falcons be in trouble if Snelling bolts? – Not unless Turner gets hurt for a prolonged time, then maybe so.

Will Birds severely regret letting #44 go? – It is possible if the above happens.

Can Jacquizz Rodgers fill Snelling’s big shoes? – No way as far as a bruiser, but he can be a good compliment (i.e thunder/lightning) to Turner.

What kind of a bind will they be in if Snelling does and Turner gets hurt? – It will be tough, but then it only gives MM an opportunity to go to the aerial show with Matt, Roddy and JJ.

What kind of a contract should the Falcons offer? – 2 years / $4 million.

D3

July 15th, 2011
11:42 am

Great Friday Cage Family! — Hope all you guys and gals and your families are doing well as we roll towards the weekend.

Jeff — Great point and welcome to the cage! Totally agree with you. I meant to put that about how Snelling completely took over that Bucs game to end the dreaded curse once and for all, but just forgot. I agree. I think we need to pay him well and put some conditional parts in there about production bonuses at the end of the contract which would coincide with Turner’s declining years.

Paddy — Agreed. Turner is already showing signs of slowing down. True he made the Pro Bowl again. But he has shown that he can be completely shut down in any given game now. 42, 39, 39, 48, 45. Those are numbers from some games where Turner was shut down and in 4 out of 5 of them, we lost. Some days it appears he just doesn’t have that burst. I shudder at the thought of Turner getting hurt and not having Snelling.

StillDirtyBird — Welcome to the Cage. I saw that same article and was wondering the same thing. If I were to bet, it would have something to do with how young and how much potential our defense has (Moore, DeCoud, Babs, Peters, Jerry, Spoon, Lofton, Biermann, Grimes……hopefully re-sign Nicholas) and how close their are to getting to that level. Just guessing.

JWW — Nice to see somebody take the opposite view. You make a good point for sure. I think it’s a risk either way you look at it, to be honest. The riskiest part would be this year, because we would be putting a ton of pressure on Rodgers to pick up A LOT of slack from Snelling coming in completely cold. Norwood should be re-signed because there’s really low risk and possible high reward with him coming off injury. Gartrell Johnson and Antone Smith have shown nothing either. I kind of err on the side of re-signing and maybe overpaying him a little bit. I think Turner will be downgrading very quickly with the amount of workload he’s gotten recently. We lock up Snelling and we are set for the next 5-6 years at RB. Hell, we gave Michael Jenkins 5 million a year and now he’ll be the #3 receiver.

just me

July 15th, 2011
12:36 pm

I don’t know if anyone stilll considers us to be Patriot South

Patriot way would be to trade Turner for a first and third or fourth round pick next year,

sign Snelling to start or to be part of a starting rotation

sign a FA RB like Derrick Ward or Tiki Barber (older back with experience that can be signed on the cheap to a short term contract) to supplement and for insurance while Quizz gets upto speed,

don’t for get to sign 2 or 3 UDFAs (DuJuan Harris-Troy, Donald Buckram-UTEP, Derrick Locke-KY, Noel Devine-WV) for competition and to give them a shot at making the roster,

you never know when a back or three might go down with an injury.

Not saying that this is my personal opinion, just thought that I would throw that out there.

Dan

July 15th, 2011
2:09 pm

Jason Snelling in 3 yrs will be 30 so when Turner is ready to go in 3yrs Snelling himself will have hit the dreaded 30 mark so I don’t see signing Snelling for a big deal ? Snelling since he is 27 should look for the big pay day if its out there because its going to most likely be his last shot. I look for the Falcons to draft SC rb Marcus Lattimore when he comes out as a Junior in two years about the same time Turner is about out the door,

Paddy O

July 15th, 2011
3:43 pm

i never want to see Tiki Barber again, especially on a football field. the guy epitomizes misplaced/inept narcissism.

Rikus

July 15th, 2011
4:39 pm

D3, have you given any consideration to changing the format of this blog? IMHO, constantly playing devil’s advocate for both (or all) sides gets a little stale. Perhaps you could lay out the arguments for and against first, and then give your actual opinion on the matter, whatever that is. In the current format, the two arguments each get taken to such extremes, that they sometimes feel insincere.

Rikus

July 15th, 2011
4:43 pm

As for my own opinion on Snelling, I’m going to stick with what I said in DOL’s blog: We need to pay him “starting-in-a-rotation” money, whatever that means. Something less than what we gave Turner (to be a workhorse back), but more than what you would typically pay a backup. I wouldn’t say we have to keep him at all costs, but Snelling is truly an amazing football player. The guy can play fullback, pound it between the tackles, pass protect, even play receiver. Wasn’t he like the 3rd or 4th receiver on the team last year? If Snelling goes, and we don’t immediately replace him with a proven veteran, running back becomes a big question mark suddenly.

Rikus

July 15th, 2011
4:45 pm

He was indeed #4 in receiving yards in 2010, higher than everybody’s favorite sleeper WR, Harry Douglas: http://espn.go.com/nfl/team/stats/_/name/atl/atlanta-falcons

JB FALCON

July 15th, 2011
5:32 pm

I don’t read nor participate in stale blogs, just sayin’.

Unca' Bob

July 15th, 2011
6:54 pm

JB FALCON,

Thanks for the Baker post. Ya’ done good. Sam? Not so much so.

Rikus,

You seem to be a newbie. D3 does give a fair and balanced opinion of what ever the topic may be. Now it’s up to you to discuss your opinion. Pick your side and reply. And by your 4:43 post you’ve done well.

falcon21

July 15th, 2011
7:24 pm

JB and UB, well said. Y’all probably will not have to read my BS next week. I have never owned a lap top until now and I don’t know if my condo has wifi. Anyway, I enjoy talking with y’all and I hope this lockout is about over!!!

JB FALCON

July 15th, 2011
8:42 pm

21, I hate to tell you, my friend, but if your new place does not permit you to continue with the blog, you’re just going to have to stay where you are. I really am sorry but the BCFM rules are like the gang rules, there’s only one way out and I would hate to have to do that job. But I will if I have to.

falcon21

July 15th, 2011
9:18 pm

JB, my wife just informed me that they do have wifi but she also said we will not have time for the computer. I didn’t say this out loud but my thought was she has to sleep sometime. Anyway, back to football. We need to resign Snelling. I like Norwood but the man cannot complete a season without injury, heck he had one return last season and it was over. He may burn us in the future but as of now I think it’s time to let him go.

Coop

July 15th, 2011
9:23 pm

Hello Cage – For those this will offend, my apologies. That said, Snelling is not and CAN NOT be a featured back anywhere in this league. Sign him if reasonable, otherwise, let him walk. I appreciate Snelling’s service and he has provided some needed rest for Turner, but those that think he should start and Turner should sit are simply flat wrong.

First, there are a few feature backs in the NFL that drive the O: Chris Johnson, Foster, AP, Turner, and a couple more. The rest of the league runs off their O lines and off their passing game. The point is, you don’t need GREAT RBs, you need great O lines and play calling.

Seriously, Peyton Hillis is not in Turner’s class. Reshard Mendenhall is not in Turner’s class. Ryan Grant… you get the point.

I have made a career in the cage complaining about our D Line and O line draft picks (or lack thereof) and I believe it will eventually kill us. HOWEVER, our O Line is one of the best coached units in the NFL. If we added more talent to the line (maybe Johnson and Reynolds, who knows) Turner could rush for 1200 and Ryan could throw for 4000.

Regardless of all this blather, Snelling is NOT worth breaking the bank.

falcon21

July 15th, 2011
9:31 pm

Not offended here Coop!!!

JB FALCON

July 15th, 2011
9:57 pm

Yeah, what Coop said!

falcon21

July 15th, 2011
10:39 pm

Later Cagers, talk to y’all when I can. Go Falcons and Dawgs!!!

crabapplejoe

July 15th, 2011
11:05 pm

@Coop who wrote: “Seriously, Peyton Hillis is not in Turner’s class.”

Seriously, so Peyton Hillis has 200 more all purpose yards, a better YPC and more TDs than Michael Turner….but he’s “not in Turner’s class”…now that’s funny I don’t care where you’re from….so what do you base your RB analysis on?…who can eat the most hot dogs?

GT GRAD

July 15th, 2011
11:46 pm

Sign Snelling and TRADE Turner for whatever you can get!! Cut Antone Smith or Gatrell Johnson (keep which ever player is the better special teams player) and sign a younger more productive RB as a free agent (Veteran or rookie free agent to make sure we have a suitable backup to Snelling and Jaquizz Rodgers).

Ed

July 16th, 2011
1:12 am

Your usual terrific work D3 and a very interesting topic. I feel strongly that Turner has at most one season left as a feature back and the Falcons will never get more for him in a trade than they would now. Coop is so right about improving the talent on the O line and going with Snelling and Rogders would definitely help open up the offense. Would love to see what Mike Martz could do with Ryan, White, Jones, Snelling, Gonzales and Rodgers to work with. MM may be the only one who could stop them though.

Coop

July 16th, 2011
10:29 am

Just can’t grasp signing Snelling and trading Turner. Maybe I don’t understand football and Snelling is way better than Turner. Must be.

Look, you aren’t going to get squat for Turner in a trade. Hell, I wouldn’t give squat for AP or Chris Johnson. Running games simply aren’t one person. Second, Turner is miles better than Snelling. The only advantage that Snelling has over Turner is that teams think Ryan will throw when Snelling is in and they don’t play the run as tough.

In the games where Turner was shut down, we didn’t fair well. That’s because teams realize how important he is to our offense. Last year, Ryan couldn’t overcome that stoppage (imo that was MM and Smitty’s fault in the playcalling). Put Snelling in and the results would be the same or worse.

He is definitely serviceable and a better than average backup, but he’s not good enough to be a tandem RB.

So trade Turner for a 4th (if you’re lucky) and start Snelling. Good luck with that.

Fact is, Turner pounds this year and we draft ANOTHER RB next year… if we have any draft picks left.

E43

July 16th, 2011
4:26 pm

The cap being set at $120m doesn’t really favor the falcons nor does it puts a dagger in them.However, someone will be leaving. I like Snelling and all but reality tells me that if Snelling bolted (which people don’t want to accept can happen) then someone that already has experience at the RB spot with the falcons will be pushed into the top 3 rbs. This includes Norwood whether or not you like it. I don’t think RB is a big issue for TD and would be one of the position’s he would improve from within. I think the media sometimes needs to cool it with the farewell to players coz a guy like 86B-finn and 3D.J-Shok could have easily been cut. I wont have a heart attack if I saw Norwood in falcons uniform. Who knows, he might be able to turn his injury woes around like John Abraham did.

Big Ray

July 16th, 2011
4:33 pm

Snelling hits the hole with more burst than Turner does. He catches better than Turner does.

Turner is still THE downhill, second half guy you want.

Sign Snelling if the money is right. Otherwise, let him walk and collect that 2nd round pick…

Unca' Bob

July 16th, 2011
5:46 pm

The predictable aspect of the Falcons is M Turner. Hate MM as you will, but when Turner is in the game no one looks to him as a pass catching threat. No one. While J Snelling does not rush the ball on average as well as Turner, the other team does need to respect the pass. With the addition of JJ and the Quizz-Kid, how do you defend all the weapons we have on O? Well, I don’t know either but that’s the other teams problem. We now have in place an O that very well could be the next “Greatest Show on Turf”. To continue to think about running the football is our primary mission is as wrong as a soup sandwich. Green Bay won the Super Bowl with a perception of running the ball. Why can’t we?…Just a thought.

John Waynesworld

July 16th, 2011
9:25 pm

The addition of Julio Jones will make everyone better this year, including Turner. This is the type of offense that could prosper even with a serviceable running back like GB’s Grant or Pitt’s Mendenhall because of our other passing weapons being so potent. Having Turner as the anvil for this passing game is as about as ideal as we could possibly hope and he will definitely have fewer carries this season with all the other options. With Julio and Roddy commanding both safeties’ attention on the deep route, Turner will have one less defender meeting him at the line of scrimmage. In addition we have our own version of Darren Sproles in Jaquizz Rodgers. IMO, all this talent on the field at the same time will only make Tony Gonzales more open than ever. He should have great stats this year.

Having Snelling too would be great but, with respect, it would not be a game changer if he walks.

steven A.

July 16th, 2011
9:35 pm

The cemetery is full of irreplaceable people.
Jason Snelling worth about 8 million over 4 years with a 5 mill. signing bonus. at most. As Bill
Parcells once said, “we are in the replacement buisness.”

Box

July 17th, 2011
12:18 am

What’s up Late Night? I agree with Big Ray and others who say sign Snelling for a reasonable price. I do not see any team making him an offer that he cannot refuse, especially with the prospect of where this team may end up in regards to post season.

Paddy O

July 17th, 2011
12:52 am

coop – agree to a certain level. Turner needs to lose some tonnage – probably about another 25 – 40 pounds – he has a lot of giggle on the muscle. If he does, he gets faster. Turner is one dimensional, if Rogers blocks well, we should be able to run both, but then Ovie can catch somewhat, and can block. However, the main problem with Turner is OUR play calling – the fumble I think against NO, 2nd NO game – should NEVER had happened – does Turner stick to script too much, or just does not have that great of vision? Folks know when he is in there, we are running. Our first option (last 3 years at least)/goal was to establish the run, or at least evaluate the run (which is actually analyzing your/our line vs. the defense we are playing – are we getting enough push to open holes?) We usually do that our 1st 2 possession. In the 3rd quarter, we also attempt to do this analysis (almost like an army sending out skirmishers to probe the oppositions defenses). If we play a good to very good team, we usually get stacked up, because it is almost always Turner between the tackles – which also mandates we get into 3rd & long. MR2 & Roddy saved our butts last year with precision routes & passing, but also annihilated YAC. I would prefer us to have a different focus – IMHO we SHOULD BE a passing first eam who effectively runs off the pass – this is more in line with the “blitz” mentality of the German Army in WW2 – quick strikes that disorient the enemy, then move your ground troops in to occupy the conquered land. We shall see which team shows up.

Paddy O

July 17th, 2011
1:06 am

Personally, I respect Turner – but he is way, way, way too 1 dimensional. However, if you come out and pass on 1st down, gain 8 yards, then run with 2 RB’s and still have that “pass” formation, I think Turner could churn up some big yards – again, it depends on his weight & our blocking. We MUST keep MR2 upright, and MM MUST employ some genuinely innovative formations, routes & results. Our goal should be to score a whole lot in preseason, via the pass, even if we don’t intend to do that in the regular season (more military manuevers – a faint or intentional deception to create an incorrect image for our opponents to game plan against). – although I hope, and when looking at this team, conclude we are designed to do it. Key again, keep Matty Ice an upright block.

Ken Strickland

July 17th, 2011
8:37 am

COOP-I happen to agree with you. However, I don’t think Snelling as a starter would make our overall OFF better. Turner is the better runner of the 2, while Snelling is the better overall running back. His ability to be a constant threat as a pass receiver would give MRyan another weapon to throw to, which would expand our OFF.

The addition of WR JJones, RB JRogers, the healthly return of WR HDouglas, and the intention of making EWeems a part of our basic OFF means we intend to rely more on the pass and less on the run. Remember, one of the reason’s we moved up to draft Rogers was his durability, especially for a player of his stature, his receiving ability, and his open field running ability, not his speed.

While he’ll be used as a change of pace RB, he definitely has the ability to be a featured RB. However, MMularkey has to understand he can’t use him in the same way he’s chosen to use MTurner.

Ken Strickland

July 17th, 2011
8:59 am

There’s one thing I would love to see us do, and that’s return to the 2 RB format we used when we had Lynn Cain and William Andrews. JSnelling and MTurner, with JRogers providing the change of pace, would be awsome. Since JSnelling is our backup FB, it would definitely work.

Snelling’s blocking won’t be anywhere near the caliber of Mughelli’s, but his overall production as a runner and receiver would by far surpass anything else we’d get from Mughelli. Having them both start would also take a lot of pressure off both RB’s as far as individual work load. Along with JRogers, this RB rotation would give MRyan a physical RB and a receiving option out of the backfield no matter which 2 RB’s are in the gm.

However, if the Falcons won’t overpay to resign a Probowl OT, it’s not likely they would overpay for a backup RB, unless they have intentions of starting him.

D3

July 17th, 2011
2:20 pm

Great Sunday Cage! — Looks like we may finally be getting close to a deal. It’s WAY past time at this point.

Rikus — Re: Blog Format. Point well taken. This was something I started when I started discussing free agent options. During the season, the setup is more analysis (preview and review type deals) and off-season stuff is more question-driven to spur to debate. My goal since doing this blog has always been to spur debate from you all. I’m just a fan like you, so I certainly don’t claim to be any expert or anyone official. The best part is getting you all’s opinions and feelings so I enjoy the role of simply putting questions out there to get good debate and analysis from you all. My favorite part is talking and blogging with you all, so that’s where my opinions come in.

Re: Sincerity. I can tell you without a doubt that all of the opinions I give for both sides of the argument are sincere and real. I usually have my own preference for sure (most times you can tell from the length of one side of the argument vs. the other), but I usually like getting in here to rap with you all on that part. For instance, I definitely think we should ink Ray Edwards or Charles Johnson. And I think we should re-sign Nicholas for sure. And I surely don’t think we should pay out the nose for Nnamdi. Many times, I even start with a certain preference in my mind, but see my opinions sometimes change when I start looking at all the analysis. Anyway, after the free agent period ends, the format will change.

D3

July 17th, 2011
2:33 pm

JB — Agreed. We’ll have to do whatever necessary to keep falcon21 in The Cage.

21 — Hope all is well my friend. How goes it up in NWGA? Agree on Snelling. I mean, they obviously can’t way overpay for him, but having only Turner and a rookie as our only running backs would make me a nervous wreck. I don’t even count Gartrell Johnson and/or Antone Smith, because they’ve shown me nothing.

Coop — Once again, you make a good case. I can’t really find anywhere to disagree with you. I think we should TRY to re-sign Snelling, but if he’s deadset on becoming a starter, its hard to believe we’ll pay for two starting running backs. If Turner only had one more year on his deal, that would be one thing, but he’s got 3 more years. I would have a really weak stomach with only Turner and Rodgers left though. That being said, our passing attack with JJ in house should open the holes for any running back, going along with the point you made.

GT — You’re certainly not the first to mention trading Turner, but his contract has been heavily backloaded with him getting 5 mill this year and next and 5.5 in 2013, so I doubt that many teams would take on that contract for an aging RB. TD doesn’t strike me as his old boss Belichick. Seems to have more loyalty than the Patriots. All that being said though, it will very painful to see him leave.

Ed — Thanks my man. I’d have to agree with on Turner. He is aging quickly and it bugs me because sometimes Turner can just be completely shutdown and when that happens we lose most of the time. Maybe JJ will open that up more, but if he has another 350+ carry season, I agree that about one more year might be it.

Turner Analysis — Granted, this is from a fantasy writer Matt Williamson at ESPN, but someone else who thinks Turner is on his way down:

After watching film of Michael Turner, Scouts Inc.’s Matt Williams sees “a back whose best days might already be behind him.”
Turner averaged just 3.58 YPC against a string of mediocre run defenses in the final five games of last season, showing a lack of burst and explosion. As Williamson suggests, Turner’s “arrow is going down” at age 29 after leading the NFL in carries in two of the past three seasons. Signs point to the Falcons opening up the offense under Matt Ryan, decreasing the rushing attempts. Turner is no longer a first-round fantasy pick

D3

July 17th, 2011
3:01 pm

UB — Great point. We’ve been screaming forever about MM opening up the offense and I think that the magnitude of the JJ trade, TD forced Smitty and MM’s hands. Just can’t continue to rely that heavily on the run game, because if it shut down than its up to Ryan to almost single-handedly win it with poor playcalling and a seeming inability for Smitty and MM to adjust or have a backup plan. If we lose Snelling, we’re losing a lot in terms of the passing game. I’m not extremely confident of Rodgers taking up the workload quickly enough since he hasn’t even scratched a playbook yet.

Re: Snelling — It’s all going to come down to what Snelling wants, IMO. If he wants to become a feature back, than its almost certain that he will be leaving the Falcons. One of the main things too is whether or not the new CBA includes the tenders attached to potential free agents. If so, will teams be willing to part with a 2nd round draft pick to pick up Snelling, who is 27 years old? If they feel they close, than probably so. If they are more in pure rebuilding mode, than probably not. I think TD and Co. will try to keep Snelling, but if wants to max out, than they simply won’t be able to match, nor should he. Like it or not, Turner is their feature back and has 3 years left on his deal. The smart move of course would be to re-up Snelling and almost create a 60-40 split with Turner and Snelling because Turner can’t absorb many more seasons of 350+ carries. If they want to increase his longevity, they better start sharing the workload.

I think that TD and Co. would be willing to do something like a 5 year, 18 million dollar deal or a 4 year 14 million deal. The question is would Snelling accept that. You would have to think not if he feels he can get more elsewhere. Even though Deangelo Williams, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Ronnie Brown will get all the immediate attention, Snelling’s light workload early in his career surely will keen some interest. Some will look to see Turner’s immediate success and be willing to take a chance on Snelling. If forced to give a guess right this very second, I would have to say that Snelling is gone.

That puts us in a big ol’ bind and very precarious situation in my opinion. I think its a given that we re-sign Norwood anyway. Very low risk and potentially high reward with Norwood. He knows the playbook. His potential is unquestioned and his market value will likely be very low after two injury riddled years. It would give some major insurance as well. A backfield with Turner, Norwood, Rodgers, Ovie, and possibly Gartrell Johnson would be OK. You take away Turner though and Ovie becomes the only pounder left in the mix. Speaking of Ovie, he has shown that he can catch the ball out of the backfield and has some moves in space. They need to start getting Ovie more involved anyway. Maybe Ovie could be a poor-mans Snelling. Personally, I say that we look either in the FA pool or UDFA pool for a 5th running back. Gartrell Johnson and Antone Smith have shown me nothing. Think we made an error in letting Dmitri Nance go in favor of Smith. If we had Dmitri Nance I would be completely comfortable with the following depth: Turner, Norwood, Rodgers, Ovie, Nance. Rodgers and Norwood would be the burners, Turner the feature, with Ovie and Nance as the pounders. Antone Smith and Gartrell Johnson add nothing and should have serious competition. Perhaps its more MM’s fault, but Smith in particular has proven he just doesn’t have it.

E43

July 17th, 2011
3:16 pm

I think the main point has been skewed a little bit. JJones was brought in here to make the falcons more EXPLOSIVE. It had nothing to do with them leaning away from the running game. Its just too much to expect today right now especially with all the rookies/FA’s missing OTA’s and possibly training camp. I expect to see some more 50/50 run-pass but with explosive plays. That is unless the falcons running game fails miserably and they are forced to adjust.

I also think that the defense is going to have a better than expected season. There has been alot of attention to the offense but i think that guys like Perria, Moore and weatherspoon will make a bigger impact in 2011.

Big Ray

July 17th, 2011
8:34 pm

To continue to think about running the football is our primary mission is as wrong as a soup sandwich.

For the record, I think that’s an insult to a soup sandwich…. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Seriously, been screaming this one with the rest of y’all for a while. There has to be a change. We saw how the best team won. We saw first hand…

Big Ray

July 17th, 2011
8:38 pm

E43,

Yes, explosive. There is NOTHING explosive about Turner on first down for 2 yards, Turner on 2nd down for 1 yard, Ryan on 3rd down looking for one of two targets.

Nobody wins in today’s NFL by running the ball down the other team’s throat. NOBODY.

You win by being able to set up the pass with the run. You win by being able to run and put the opposing defense off balance. You win by not having to rely on the passing game 95% of the time (ask New Orleans how you can lose to a loser team in the first round of the playoffs when your QB throws for over 400 yards).

But you win…you win through the air. Turner isn’t explosive, he’s steady and hard to deal with in the 4th quarter. We need to lean away from the run being everything we build our offense on. We don’t have the O-Line for it, and we don’t have the RB for it.

JB FALCON

July 17th, 2011
9:14 pm

I hope everyone enjoyed this Sunday as well as I did. Big Ray, glad to see you back. I agree 100%. As for Turner, it’s about time that we started using him for what he is built for. He’s not designed for knocking down brick walls. The other teams know we are going to run him on 1st down and stack the box for it. He gets 2 or 3 yards and we have 3rd and 6 – 10. SS / DD. (Same shit/different day) MM is going to have to use what TD has given him and he is going to have to do it NOW. Turn Turner lose when they least expect it and the tank will roll. I believe we will keep Snelling. Too many FA RD’s for him to get a #1 offer, I think.
I’m going with JWW at 9:25 p, 7/16. We have the ammunition and it’s about time we need to learn how to use it!

JB FALCON

July 17th, 2011
9:28 pm

Curse the blog monster! Turner is a stud, first class, dependable running back,…when used properly. I think we should re-sign Snelling and add JR (not to mention JJ) into the mix to go all the way this year, IF MM will get his head out of where it doesn’t belong (it must stink in there) and use the weapons that TD has annointed him with. Give Turner time to get his speed up and you’ll have your hands full. Run him into a pre-planned brick wall, as we have been doing, and wear him out.
We’ve all been talking about players, 13-3 players, and I can’t help but think we have driver trainees trying to win a race with a Porsche. Give this team to a coach who isn’t scared of his shadow and we can sit back and watch the show. This diatribe is, of course, my opinion but I truly think we have the players to go all the way, if used properly.

crabapplejoe

July 17th, 2011
9:51 pm

Geez….this forum is really humming along…its like being in a morgue. Is D3 deleting everyone’s posts or just mine? Seriously, three posts in six hours….I think the Mormon/LGBT site has more activity….LMAO. Turner needs to go for whatever draft choice we can get. Snelling and Jaquizzzzz can carry the load….Snelling is actually a better all round back than Turner. Turner is either too beaten up or doesn’t care anymore, particularly in the latter part of the season…its hard to watch.

E43

July 17th, 2011
11:25 pm

Big Ray-Your opinion is based more on what the league is doing and not the situation the falcons currently have. Id like to see a 40-60 run pass.I don’t think 50-50 pass run is something the falcons choose to do but something they have to do because running the ball is more of a strength than passing defense is. 50-50 is acceptable. If the falcons had a top 5 passing d then my opinion would be much different

Unca' Bob

July 18th, 2011
8:53 am

Last (regular) season we passed 577 times (53.6%) and ran 497 times (46.4%). On average we threw 5 more passes than runs per game.

Ken Strickland

July 18th, 2011
9:47 am

I happen to agree with BIG RAY. Our biggest DEF problem is defending the pass because of our lack of a decent pass rush, not our inability to defend the run. The Packers whipped our butts because they were able to stop our rushing OFF and we were unable to stop or contain their passing OFF.

Stopping the run is much easier to do than stopping the pass, especially if you don’t have an effective pass rush. Three yrs ago the Giants were the NFL’s premier rushing OFF. But the loss of WR PBurriss had a profound effect on their passing OFF. It also had a major affect on their rushing OFF, and they haven’t been the same since.

TD and Smitty didn’t give up all of those draft picks to move up 21 spots in the draft to select WR JJones because they wanted to improve our rushing OFF. The Falcons will go nowhere near a Superbowl as long as we continue relying so heavily on our rushing OFF, and MMularkey continues to be so doggone conservative, predictable and inflexible.

We cannot continue refusing to counter what has become the opposing strategy of stacking the box and daring us to pass. Mularkey’s approach so far has been to attack the strength of that DEF approach by ccnsistently running on 1st and 2nd downs, and running between the tackles while ignoring the perimeter or play action.

You either use the run to set up the pass, or you use the pass to set up the run, and we’re not doing either effectively. Mularkey’s conservative and predictable run 1st philosophy has caused RB MTurner to take a tremendous pounding over the last 3yrs. It reminds me of when happened to Earl Campbell, when former Oilers HC Bum Phillips used the same approach with him.

We need to pass more on 1st and 2nd downs, using play action, to take advantage of teams stacking the box, and put ourselves in more 3rd and short situations where we can run more.

uga_b

July 18th, 2011
10:31 am

Jason Snelling is just our Earnest Graham. He has a football player’s mentality but truly lacks the elite speed needed to be a Number 1 back.

4.79 Forty at the Combine. Career: Rushing Long – 31 Passing Long – 38

If we can get a number 2 pick, TD will have pulled off a Belicheck.

Paddy O

July 18th, 2011
3:38 pm

unca bob – maybe you know this state quick: How many yards did we gain via the pass, and how much via the run?

uga_b

July 18th, 2011
4:09 pm

Paddy O,
NFL.com has a bunch of good stats including those.

http://www.nfl.com/stats/team

Passing (15th): 3,567
Rushing (12th): 1,891