Atlanta Falcons: What will the Running Back Split Look Like?

Touches to Be Divided

How Much Does Turner Have Left? (AJC)

Many around the NFL won’t consider the Atlanta Falcons backfield as one of the most lethal and, in fact, some think the Birds potential is pretty limited. Head Coach Mike Smith has relied on Michael Turner as much as any player since he’s been the Falcons coach, some even say entirely too much. Turner was one of the biggest reasons for the Birds success the last four years, finishing near the top in rushing yards in the NFL every year except his injury year and making two trips to the Pro Bowl.

Turner Slows

For all the talk of Turner slowing way down, he still eclipsed over 1,300 yards rushing the last two years. The Falcons workhorse also more than doubled his receiving yards total. However, anyone arguing that Turner hasn’t slowed down after hitting the 30 year old wall hasn’t been paying attention. He hits the hole much slower than he used to and goes down much easier than when he first came to Atlanta.

Feast on Weak, Famine on Tough

Like the rest of the 2011 team, Turner feasted on weak teams and non-existent against top tier teams: Green Bay (56 rush yards), Houston (44), New Orleans (39), and New York in Playoffs (41). Some of that certainly wasn’t his fault and, to be fair, the rest of the team took on that identity as well. Quite a few fans even thought it was time to let Turner and his $7.5 million cap hit go, but knowing Smith that was never going to happen.

Rodgers and Snelling

Quizz is the Big Hope (AJC)

It came as somewhat of a surprise when the Falcons re-signed Jason Snelling as he was about to become an unrestricted free agent last year. It was a very pleasant event getting Snelling for 3 years and at roughly $4 million dollars. Snelling has been a fan favorite for his versatility, toughness (returned after broken jaw in playoff game), and production with limited opportunities. The vast majority of fans love Snelling, but the only issue is that he is too much like Turner and the idea of having a running back tandem or trio only makes sense when you have complementary backs.

The big buzz in the Falcons backfield resides with second year man Jacquizz Rodgers. He dazzled with limited touches last year as a rookie. His stats won’t blow you away, but if you watched him run last year he was a tough and shifty runner that could make people miss, get the tough yards (sealed the win in Detroit), and showed massive potential in the pass game. In one of the plays of the year, Rodgers hauled in a beautiful 31 yard over-the-shoulder touchdown pass in a comeback win in Carolina. While not having homerun threat speed, many are expecting a big year from “Quizz.”

A look at how the running back carries (hopefully) might be split in 2012:

Michael Turner

As mentioned above, Turner has slowed way down as of late. He’s still got some gas left in the tank, as he’s gone over 1,300 yards rushing the last two years, but he should definitely have his touches limited to keep him fresh over the season, but also to get Rodgers and Snelling, both much better in the pass game, more touches.

Like many other offensive players, Turner may have simply a victim of Mularkey’s extreme predictable and vanilla play-calling, but saving reducing Turner’s carries is a win-win across the board. He’s under contract for this year and next, and if Smith wants to keep him for his entire contract, saving his body and endurance is the best way to go. Ultimately, Turner’s effectiveness has slowed and his lack of potential in the pass game puts the onus on the Falcons to find ways of getting more explosive in the backfield. Hopeful Carry Split = 40%

Jacquizz Rodgers

The big hope for Falcons fans this year lies with the second year Rodgers. He flashed some serious potential as a rookie, even though he was rarely seen from in Mularkey’s offense. While not possessing top-flight speed, he added a nice complement to the bruising and laborious type of running styles. He showed a quickness not seen since the days of Warrick Dunn. The versatility was a nice change of pace where defenses seemingly couldn’t predict what was coming, such as seeing Turner in the game knowing he wouldn’t a pass.

He may not be the fastest running back in the NFL, but he surely has more upside as a multidimensional back which has become very popular in the NFL with the emergence of players like Ray Rice and Lesean McCoy having so much success as both a runner and receiver. Smith thinks he could be a feature back, but even if his frame couldn’t support that much use, he definitely should get the most looks of any of the running backs. Hopeful Carry Split = 35%

Jason Snelling

Fans know that Turner and Rodgers will get their touches, so the most intriguing back heading into 2012 is Jason Snelling. Some thought that Snelling may have played his final down for the Falcons as he headed into free agency, they were high on Rodgers going forward, and they were intent on keeping Turner. It was a pretty pleasant surprise to see him re-upped with Atlanta for a very reasonable price. The question now is “when and where will Snelling’s touches come?”

How Many Carries to Snelling? (AJC)

Some thought that Snelling may be in line to take over for Ovie Mughelli at fullback, giving more athleticism to the position in terms of running and passing, while being able to see the field on a more regular basis. That speculation ended quickly when the Falcons selected the best fullback in the draft in Bradie Ewing. Snelling certainly hasn’t gotten the carries that Turner has, but he definitely gives it his all and some fans even believe he hits the hole harder than Turner, while also providing a very good option in the passing game. The issue isn’t Snelling, but the fact that he and Turner are extremely similar in their running styles make many wonder how there will be enough touches to go around. Some teams have made a three-man rotation at RB work, but most go with a tandem. The thought among many is that Snelling will receive the least of carries among the three, even though it may not be the best idea.  Hopeful Carry Split = 25%

A Fourth RB?

Most fans wanted some homerun speed injected in the Falcons backfield heading into 2012. Although Turner, Rodgers, and Snelling are all quality backs, none of them possess that game-breaking speed that other teams have. Some hoped a potential for a guy like Antone Smith, who’s flashed speed at times, to get some looks this year. With the Falcons sticking with Turner and bringing back Snelling to pair with Rodgers, that hope has basically been extinguished. Teams may can swing a 3 man rotation at running back, but finding enough touches for a 4th one is next to impossible. With other areas potentially needing more depth, like defensive end and offensive line, the Falcons may decide to keep only 4 total running backs (including fullback) instead of 5. Carry Split = 0%

Bird Cage Brethren’s Turn

1) What’s your hopeful spit at running back in 2012?

2) Are you comfortable with a Turner, Rodgers, and Snelling rotation?

3) Can Turner have another good year or has he peaked?

4) Who should get the most touches at running back?

5) Should the Falcons have let one of the 3 go?

6) Is there enough play-making ability in the backfield? Enough speed?

7) Where will Snelling’s touches come from?

8.) How many running backs should they keep on the 53 man roster?

9) Should there be some touches for a 4th RB speed back like Antone Smith?

141 comments Add your comment

Optimistic Falcon Fan

June 14th, 2012
9:01 pm

Turner will have over half

Optimistic Falcon Fan

June 14th, 2012
9:02 pm

Was I actually first? Just got home

[...] Atlanta Falcons: What will the Running Back Carry Split Look Like?Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Many around the NFL won't consider the Atlanta Falcons backfield as one of the most lethal and, in fact, some think the Birds potential is pretty limited. [...]

Optimistic Falcon Fan

June 14th, 2012
9:04 pm

Snelling will be in maybe half of the fullback formations, Ewing the other half. More blocking, pass protection as the new O line jells

Optimistic Falcon Fan

June 14th, 2012
9:07 pm

Quizz will be more of a designated screen catcher I fear, less of a pound the rock kinna guy. The issue here may be the predictability that that could slide into as other D coordinators catch on. I hope I am wrong, and that we won’t be so predictable based on the personnel package – but I need to be convinced.

Scott Anderson

June 14th, 2012
9:08 pm

hope to see alot of Ewing especially in screen passing situations.

go falcons !

[...] Atlanta Falcons: What will the Running Back Carry Split Look Like?Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Many around the NFL won't consider the Atlanta Falcons backfield as one of the most lethal and, in fact, some think the Birds potential is pretty limited. [...]

PoolerSpirit

June 14th, 2012
9:20 pm

JJ… Prayers have been lifted up for you… from The Spirit, Daisy, and Gracie… May God Bless…

JB FALCON

June 14th, 2012
9:21 pm

Give O F F a chocolate covered green stamp!

Optimistic Falcon Fan

June 14th, 2012
9:21 pm

1) What’s your hopeful spit at running back in 2012?

Turner – 40% – pound the rock, get what we can while there is some gas left
Quizz – 30%
Snelling – 25%
Committee – 5% (JJ, Smith, etc. in reverses, gadget plays, what have you)

2) Are you comfortable with a Turner, Rodgers, and Snelling rotation?
As a compliment to the pass game, OK – but don’t confuse comfort with exciting. Comfort as in familiar worn out blanket. At some point we will need more speed, but I do like Turner and Snelling’s ability to pound the rock, IF the O line can open some holes.

3) Can Turner have another good year or has he peaked?
He will be better with a better O line and if he stays healthy.

4) Who should get the most touches at running back?
Turner, make D’s respect the power game, give Ryan time.

5) Should the Falcons have let one of the 3 go?
No.

6) Is there enough play-making ability in the backfield? Enough speed?
Iffy, doubtful. I think an improved O line will pjck up the running stats. A Ferrari can’t go that fast on a pot hole ridden gravel cow path. We need those big road graders up front to plow the field and give the Ferrri’s a smooth track to ride on.
Now, as we seem to be a bit short on ferrari’s in the backfield (he is playing WR), we are best served with monster trucks, and Turner is a good one.
Get a Ferrari next year AFTER the road graders are in place.

7) Where will Snelling’s touches come from?
Dump off’s as a check off as he goes wide from pass protection, I think.

8.) How many running backs should they keep on the 53 man roster? 5

9) Should there be some touches for a 4th RB speed back like Antone Smith?
Should? Ok, if the questions is should then my answer is yes.

Optimistic Falcon Fan

June 14th, 2012
9:35 pm

JB – Thanks!! My very best reward of the week!

Optimistic Falcon Fan

June 14th, 2012
9:43 pm

JJ – Just saw Pooler Spirit’s eloquent prayer, and went back to see. I join him, and I suspect many others in his support of you both.

We never met, but your passion for the Falcons and the very special bond you have built with Rocky comes thru loud and clear. You have been blessed with the years you have shared, and no one can take that special time away. Our animal friends create a special synergy for our lives that can only be appreciated from the inside of such a relationship, and it is clear that you have enriched each other’s lives in ways no outsider can appreciate. The joy and loyalty he brought to your life will surely be rewarded when he passes on.

JB FALCON

June 14th, 2012
9:59 pm

9) Should there be some touches for a 4th RB speed back like Antone Smith?

Definitely! We need 4 RB’s.

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

Birdman

June 15th, 2012
7:20 am

JJ
My prayers are with you and Rocky. God Bless

Mikey

June 15th, 2012
7:35 am

1) What’s your hopeful spit at running back in 2012?
Agree with Optimistic, Turner still quite capable and will be even tougher with improved O-Line
2) Are you comfortable with a Turner, Rodgers, and Snelling rotation?
Not really… Turner & Snelling can pound the rock; we need Snelling for power backup and fullback backup. With normal injuries, Snelling will get his share. Plenty of opportunities to use Rodgers and Snelling in screens, passes and third down plays to say nothing of backup.

3) Can Turner have another good year or has he peaked?
Oh Yeah! Turner will plow!

4) Who should get the most touches at running back?
Are you kidding me? With a premier back like Turner, you want to hand the rock to someone else? It makes sense to preserve his health by using him less than in the past but at crunch time, you want him on the field? I’m hoping to see some two back formations getting one of our other great backs out there at the same time.

5) Should the Falcons have let one of the 3 go?
You need depth at this position and it is nice to have an elite group of 3 on the roster. Very happy to have Snelling back.

6) Is there enough play-making ability in the backfield? Enough speed?
Plenty!

Who wouldn’t like to have such power and versatilty in an NFL backfield? None will blow people away with speed but all are respectable. You also need to survive injuries and present different looks. We are ready to GO! GO FALCONS!

Jonathan

June 15th, 2012
8:09 am

I do not think turner is going to get only 30%.

here is some stats
Turner got 67% of carries in 2011 and 2010
Turner got 73% of the yards for total yards in 2011 and 2010

sure it is ok they want to reduce his carries, but it is not going to be half of his carries. I see it as half of the carries for the entire team will still be his.

Turner will still have over 200 carries and be around 1000 yards rushing.

I dare anyone to bump this thread after the season……the only way turner will have less, is if he has a injury that makes him miss more then a total of two games.

IceFan

June 15th, 2012
8:12 am

Opinions aside, Turner will get 50-60% of the carries at least. That’s just a fact.
My opinion: Turner 40-50% so he’s fresh in weeks 11-17, Quizz 30-40%, Snelling 20%

Ken Strickland

June 15th, 2012
8:37 am

1-My hopeful split is Turner-30%, Rogers-30%, Snelling-30%(he’ll get some snaps at FB), and James Rogers or ASmith-10%.

2-I am very comfortable with this RB rotation as it was the same rotation we had last yr, although it was grossly underutilized by Mularkey.

3-Turner will definitely have another good yr. After all, didn’t he have a good yr last yr despite our OL problems and Mularkey’s predictable and conservative play calling? Even though his snaps will be drastically reduced, Koetter’s play calling will make certain DEFs are spread out and Turner won’t be routinely facing 2 LBs and a SS in the hole whenever he runs inside. Therefore, with the DEF spread out, Turner should be far more effective with his reduced carries.

4-This is very hard to predict, but I believe Turner will get the most snaps, because he’ll be included in the screen gm despite not being a quality receiver. He can catch well enough to make the screen gm work.

5-NO. If Turner goes down, we’ll still have a power RB in Snelling. Snelling also gives us the ability to go without a designated backup at FB. We definitely need JRogers, and if his brother makes the roster, it will allow to use him at RB, K/P returner, and a 5th WR just like we used EWeems.His presence would allow us to carry one less RB or WR.

6-We don’t need speed in the backfield, because our big play capability will come from our passing OFF, not rushing OFF. All of our RBs have enough speed to gash DEFs and get deep into the secondary.

7-Snelling’s touches will come from the screen gm while playing both the FB and RB positions.

8-We will likely keep 4 RBs(Turner, Snelling, Rogers, Rogers), Having 4 RBs give us balance, as it will give us 2 power RBs and 2 change of pace RBs.

9-I think it’s premature to assume ASmith will beat out JRogers’ brother James. James is a WR that can also play RB, as well as return kicks and punts like EWeems once did for us. His versatility would allow us to carry 3 RBs and a FB, and Snelling’s versatility would allow us to carry only 1 FB.

When Smitty and Co 1st arrived in 2008, teams couldn’t effectively scheme for our OFF and DEF because they didn’t know what to expect from our new OFF and DEF coordinators. As it turned out, we were very successful that yr considering all of the unknowns we had to deal with.

In the 2011-2012 season, teams won’t be able to effectively scheme for our OFF and DEF because they really don’t know what to expect from our new OFF and DEF Coordinators, and we have a helluva lot more talent, experience and confidence than we had in 08.

I guarantee everyone that Koetter and Hill will have counter plays that are designed to attack DEFs when they try to overload to stop what we’ve been successfully doing. We definitely know that wasn’t the case under Mularkey.

Ken Strickland

June 15th, 2012
8:45 am

Ken Strickland

June 15th, 2012
8:46 am

Ken Strickland

June 15th, 2012
8:49 am

Ken Strickland

June 15th, 2012
8:51 am

John Waynesworld

June 15th, 2012
10:25 am

A good topic, D3. The running back equation is starting to make sense. Keeping our backfield intact had to be a priority as our team was changing OCs. No matter what tweaks in terminology or strategy, the backfield players will be comfortable in knowing their protection roles as well as how to help Ryan when/if the play breaks down. All this helps our overall performance especially early in the season when offensive breakdowns running new schemes occur. We are going to have to smooth out of the gate going into Arrowhead against their much improved and healthy defense.

PREDICTABLE

June 15th, 2012
10:54 am

If Turner would hit the hole like Snelling he would be alot better back. To slow to the hole. Offense has been to predictable the last few years. If Smith goes for it on 4th down again and runs the ball up the middle he should have his a$$ kicked, so predictable. The offense has the talent now if the new O-cord. can do something with it. I really think the Falcons will fight for and have a good chance of winning their division. Man do I love football. Can,t wait for the season to start. GOOOOOOO FALCONS.

Clyde

June 15th, 2012
2:14 pm

1) What’s your hopeful spit at running back in 2012? Turner will get 35% Rodgers 35%
Snelling 30% Reason being injuries.
2) Are you comfortable with a Turner, Rodgers, and Snelling rotation?yes. If you want to compete against the elite teams you have to have multiple backs.

3) Can Turner have another good year or has he peaked?Turner has peaked. he can be more affective with less carries because he is not getting pounded by line-backers and d-tackles.

4) Who should get the most touches at running back? sorry, spread it around. go with hot guy till he cools off, then jump on another horse.

5) Should the Falcons have let one of the 3 go?no. who is the back up? Rodgers can not carry the load, he is just too small. right now Falcons need all 3.

6) Is there enough play-making ability in the backfield? Enough speed?yes. Falcon have the tools, now it is up to the coaches to get creative. something the last administration had problems with doing.

7) Where will Snelling’s touches come from? proably short yardage and screen plays. if you constantly stick with Rodgers in the screen game defense’s will pick it up and make the adjustment. having Rodgers in the back field along with Snelling the D’s will be off balance not knowing who the ball is going to go to.

8.) How many running backs should they keep on the 53 man roster? 3 tail backs, 1 full back + 1 fullback on the practice squad.

9) Should there be some touches for a 4th RB speed back like Antone Smith?
only in the case of injurys. injuries are huge in the nfl. in my opinion you can never have enough depth at any one position.

Pj

June 15th, 2012
2:27 pm

when rodgers gets into the open field no one will catch him

JB Falcon

June 15th, 2012
2:27 pm

The Real Falcon

June 15th, 2012
3:00 pm

Anyone who believes a 5′6″ RB will take 35% of the stats is dreamimg. He may be in for 35% of the plays but a lot will be screens and passes, not carries.

D3

June 15th, 2012
4:39 pm

Great Friday Cage Brothers! — Hope the summer is rolling along well for all of you as the US Open and Mini-camp on the horizon has given us something to look forward to. A quick positive thought and hope sent to our great buddy JJ on his dealing with his best friend Rocky, his long beloved dog. Best wishes sent to him on his best friend. You are in our thoughts buddy.

***POST QUALIFIER*** — Even though I thought it was inferred, I want you all to know that I mean “touches” by the running back in any form, not just traditional carries as a running back. I interchanged them quite often, but I mean any time an RB touches the football, whether it be a handoff, catch, shovel pass, reverse, etc. Just wanted to clarify that because some of us are getting hung up on semantics.

Optimistic — You are right on Turner. He will get over half, and honestly I don’t have a problem with that, but the productivity has GOT to be there. How many times did we see Turner just get completely shut down by a good defense and go down like a feather last year? Again, much of it was probably Mularkey’s fault, but there were still times when he was tippy toeing like a cheerleader in the backfield and would not hit the hole with any authority. In other words, I don’t want him to continue to get touches just because he’s been really good in the past. Your points on the OL are spot on as well. I’m really hoping an improved line will lead to better production from all RB’s, but again, I’m in the “Show Me” belief on our OL, especially with Sam Baker getting ready to take back over.

Scott Anderson — I know, I really didn’t think to include Ewing in the mix, but that’s a great point. He’s going to be another guy who will get touches in the backfield. It’s going to a crowded backfield this year. I suppose that’s a good problem to have. Welcome to the Cage if this is your first time.

JB — I’m right there with you man. I would love to get some pure speed in there somewhere, but I just don’t see it happening with Turner, Quizz, Snelling, AND Ewing set to get touches. You never know though. Ultimately, what it boils down for me is that Turner and Snelling are just SO much alike, that there’s not a whole lot of difference in style. For me, I’d rather keep one or the other (Turner or Snelling) and the 3rd guy be a burner type. But oh well.

D3

June 15th, 2012
4:48 pm

Mikey — While I appreciate what Turner’s done for us in the past, I no longer consider him a premiere back. Now, it may have very well been the fact that Malarkey really was that bad, but Turner just looked downright awful at times last year. Again, much was probably the play-calling and the terrible OL, and I’ll happily eat crow, but I would really like to see other guys get in the mix as well. Check out some of his average per carry from last year:

Bucs – 1.8
Seahawks – 2.7
Packers – 3.5
Colts – 3.7
Vikings – 3.2
Texans – 3.1
Jaguars – 3.2
Giants – 2.7

Jonathan — You are correct, and as I mentioned above, as long as he’s productive I have no problem with that, but as I mentioned in the post, many of his 1,300 yards came against pitiful teams where he racked up huge yardage. Again, he probably was a victim of a terrible coordinator and awful OL, but there were many times when he looked bad all on his own.

IceFan — That’s a great way to put it. The “hopeful” carry split is my desire, only to inject some more athleticism and less predictability into our offense, but I would think 50% is about right. I’m also taking a longer view as well considering Smith has given no indication he will part with Turner before his contract is up, we have him for another year and, taking that view, less carries would also save him for being fresh more next year also.

Ken Strickland

June 15th, 2012
5:54 pm

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/nfl_rumors_will_joe_hawley_start_at_center_for_the_atlanta_falcons/11022011

Here’s an interesting article on who will start at OC. After reading it I thought about Hawley’s less than stellar performance last yr at OC, and what might have caused it. First, he was suddenly thrown into the fire at OC due to an injury to McClure. Then he had to deal with the chaos that was taking place at RG. But when he moved to RG, he did much better because he was flanked by vets McClure and Clabo.

With our new OL blocking scheme, which will rely more on speed, quickness, athleticism and mobility, he will most likely surplant McClure this yr. If that’s the case, we could be seeing the formation of a very formative OL featuring TClabo @RT, PKonz @RG, JHawley @OC, JBlalock @LG, and hopefully LHolmes @ LT. I honestly believe this will end up being our starting OL when this yrs playoffs start.

Ken Strickland

June 15th, 2012
6:03 pm

THE REAL FALCON-a 5′7″ RB led the NFL in rushing last yr, and he’s gained 1300yds or more 3 consecutive seasons. So are you saying that a 1″ difference between MJDrew and JRogers will be JRogers’ downfall? People made the same rediculous and unfounded claim about former Falcons PROBOWL RB WDunn when we signed him to a hefty FA contract. Do you remember how that turned out?

Magnusxxiii

June 15th, 2012
10:09 pm

Though I am a Homer. And though I can sill agree with some of the macro points.

This is the worst post/article I have ever read from D3.

For the record. MT only looks a LITTLE slow when he has to improvise.

Magnusxxiii

June 15th, 2012
10:19 pm

Dawson … Please write an article about how our biggest need is for 2 DTs to step up. Really that is all there is.

D3

June 15th, 2012
10:47 pm

Magnus — Certainly entitled to your opinion, and while I’ll admit this may not have been my best, it’s not the easiest to “create” topics during this deadzone of no Falcons and Football. I’m interested to know what exactly you think is so horrible about the post, in sincere truth. As an obvious die-hard Falcons fan, the idea of how the touches are going to be split up among these 3 backs is a very interesting topic. For the record part 1, I am planning on writing a DT article, but figured I’d mix it up since I just wrote a DE article not long ago. For the record part 2, if you don’t think Michael Turner looked slow at times, I’m sorry but you weren’t really watching.

Box

June 16th, 2012
12:40 am

JJ,
Prayers for you and Rock.

Box

June 16th, 2012
12:48 am

I think that MT receiving a little less than half of the touches in his twilight year of service will keep him around for the entire season, and let our new OC bring the rookies along at a slower, but decisive pace. Being able to develop them with a little less pressure will benefit us in the long run. New playbook will set our talented group free. Really look forward to our offense this season.

[...] percent of the time. Snelling rushed the ball 11 percent of the time. The AJC’s Dawson Devitt thinks those percentages will change. [...]

Paddy O

June 16th, 2012
1:24 am

I’d flip the Quizz/Snelling RUSH ratios. But, if you look at snaps, I’d like Quizz in there on most plays. I still dream of a backfield with Snelling & Quizz – double screens after quick chips, with Tony G going an intermediate route & JJ & RW84 taking the defense long. If our O line holds the rush, we could easily do this. But, as Ken S has said the last 2 years – you could do this to draw off the defense & reduce the blitz. MM was too molasses to strive.

D man

June 16th, 2012
8:01 am

Turner should get 55% of touches and Quizz should get toss sweeps and screen passes.

Patrick ONeill

June 16th, 2012
8:24 am

1) What’s your hopeful split at running back in 2012?
Turner 50% Quizz 35% everyone else 15%

2) Are you comfortable with a Turner, Rodgers, and Snelling rotation?
Yep, if they will screen Quizz, it is just like a handoff, so that would give him 2 or 3 more touches a game.

3) Can Turner have another good year or has he peaked?
peaked – 900 this year

4) Who should get the most touches at running back?
depends on the situation

5) Should the Falcons have let one of the 3 go?
Nope

6) Is there enough play-making ability in the backfield? Enough speed?
right now, yes. maybe not next year. but NE and GB do well with no running game

7) Where will Snelling’s touches come from?
screen passes, dump-offs, and 8 to 11 carries a game.

8.) How many running backs should they keep on the 53 man roster?
4

9) Should there be some touches for a 4th RB speed back like Antone Smith?
def

BIGBEN42

June 16th, 2012
9:35 am

Turner should get 70% of the touches.With a more wide open offense Turner will be more effective this season.He is proven back.

D3

June 16th, 2012
10:16 am

Great Sat Morn’ Cage — Getting ready to head off for this frackin’ certification test I’ve been studying for awhile. What a weight this will be lifted after taking this test. Jeez.

On Turner, Perhaps I Was Wrong — I will definitely say maybe I’m in the wrong on Turner. Personally, I thought he was looking like he was on the decline, but many of ya’ll have surely come to Turner’s defense has made me rethink it. With a better OL and a coordinator that isn’t incompetent, maybe Turner will regain his 2008 and 2010 form. I have no problem admitting when I’m wrong, but right now, I’m still sticking with Turner should get no more than 50% of all running back touches.

Be back later. Enjoy the day ‘all………………. :grin:

Ken Strickland

June 16th, 2012
12:12 pm

On the issue of MTurner not hitting the hole as quickly as he has in the past could be due to there not being a hole to hit. While he’s definitely lost a step, I don’t think he’s lost the ability to get to the hole provided there’s a hole to get to. With the problems our OL had last yr with making holes for him, it’s little wonder he hesitated.

The fact that he was able to blast THROUGH the line when there were holes tells me he still has the speed and quickness to get TO the hole quickly. With Koetter spreading the DEF out with his formations and playcalling, Turner can blast to the hole even if it’s not completely open because unlike in the past, there won’t be 2 LBs and/or a SS waiting for him in the hole.

For those OLD SCHOOL Falcon fans who can remember the glory days of WAndrews, LCain, SBartkowski, JMiller, AJenkins, AJackson, and WFrancis, consider this. Our OL at that time was good, but not great. Our ability to run on anybody was due to DEFs always being spreadout trying to protect against our 3 quick, fast WRs and TE.

Offensively, this yrs OFF situation is very simular, with us also havinga solid TE, 3 quick, fast WRs, only much bigger and stronger, and like them we’ll employ a vertical passing OFF. DEFs have a hard time getting to QBs like TBrady, PManning, DBrees, and ARogers because they run a spread passing OFF along with a vertical passing attack. This spreads the DEF and limits the number of pass rushers they can send.

The use of the spread passing OFF and vertical passing attack, along with a lot of screens and swing passes, contributes more to protecting these QBs than their OLs. We’ve seen the AINTS, Packers, Patriots and Colts change OLinemen, and even lose them during the season, and they just keep on getting the job done.

That’s because their OFF scheme and approach are more important to the success of the OL than the individual OLinemen. Last yr we lost 1 OG and our entire OL fell apart. On the other hand,the AINTS replaced their starting RT and OC before the season, and then replaced their OC again during the season and kept right on ticking. IT’S THE OFF SCHEME AND APPROACH MORE THAN THE INDIVIDUAL OLINEMEN.

PlanB

June 16th, 2012
12:52 pm

Not trying to be the teachers pet but I have wanted discussion on this topic for awhile. Good job D3. I have thought since I heard how many carries Turner was getting each year that we would wear him out before his contract was up. This has seemed to be MS’s SOP. Take the best a use them until they are worn out. I think Snelling gained only a tenth of a yard less per carry in 2009(+-) when he got a chance due to Turner’s injury. Next thing I know we are trying to get rid of him while Turner is using himself up in MS’s & MM’s conservative scheme. We have several players that should get some playing time only to be seen and performing well in preseason games. A complaint I’ve had for awhile with MS’s head coaching job. I like Smitty and what he has done for the falcons but want him to learn from his mistakes.
With a receiving core like RW, JJ, HD & TG and RB’s like MT, Quizz, Snelling & Ewing the talent is there. Now, all we are hopeful on offense for, is the OL, OC-Koetter & Ryan to do a terrific job.
As Paddy O said, I like the Quizz & Snelling backfield so I would divide the touches MT-45%, JS-30% & JR_25% until I saw a problem with that. I’d give MT some of the screens & JR some of the carries to add a little confusion for the defenses.
I miss football. I wish we had left over’s league made from those not drafted, starting after the SB and lasting thru July. Not the arena league.

PlanB

June 16th, 2012
1:11 pm

Ken – What you say sounds as if you know what you are talking about and I hope you are right. I look forward to our new coordinators to show their stuff. Smitty, please let them do their jobs.

optimistic Falcon Fan

June 16th, 2012
1:13 pm

Reviewing comments so far, it feels to me (maybe just me?) that the discussion has evolved to a discussion regarding Turner’s effectiveness in 2012, All else in the running game revolves around this core issue, this is the feeling I am getting.

SOOOO,
1) I fall into the camp that Turner is STILL potentially a fearsome RB that can be productive, very much so. 2012 will be a great year for him 1000+ again. Easily. With less touches.

2) Turners fall off in productivity (and no argument it fell off – D3 proved that objectively and elequently, using facts) was NOT because he was getting “old” and I understand why some would infer that.

3) Why did it fall off?
A) Injuries, the type that can be recovered 100%, high ankle sprain and groin pull if I remember. A good offseason can solve either of these, and the rehab time and full offseason can have him back to his old form.
B) O-Line – Running into a brick wall, over and over and over, will take it out of you, slow you down, etc. IF we have improved here, then I believe he will burst thru the line with the fury of old. I hope.
C) AS Ken S., observed, running games are more productive if defenses need to respect multiple receivers with speed. Constantly running up the middle into an 8 in the box D does not a pro bowl runner make.

I think all three areas are improved this year, so Turner’s stats should improve.

4) Contract years are usually the most productive of a players career (just spitballing here, no hard data). Cha-Ching.

Ken Strickland

June 16th, 2012
5:46 pm

Our OFF was completely held back by Mularkey’s stupidity, arrogance, incompetence, and complete lack of common sense. He claimed his approach was to take what the DEF gave us, but he actually did the complete opposite. When DEFs bring their LBs in, it means they’re giving up the outside.

When DEFs bring their DBs up, it means they’re vulnerable over the top, and for 4yrs Mularkey stubbornly refused to take advantage of either opportunity. That fool did more to help the DEF than they did to help themselves. And to that you add a DC with a college mentality and aproach towards football, expecially DEF, and you have OFF and DEF issues.

John Waynesworld

June 16th, 2012
6:07 pm

1) What’s your hopeful spit at running back in 2012? Turner – 50, Quizz – 30, Snelling – 20.

2) Are you comfortable with a Turner, Rodgers, and Snelling rotation? Yes and no. I don’t think they are the best we could possibly find, but that’s what we got. They will be fine. Rodgers needs to show me two things…breakaway speed (at least breaking away from a linebacker) and some ability to break open field tackles. Jaquizz seemed to go down a little too quickly after contact sometimes and must improve his elusiveness. Everybody likes to compare him to MJD but there is hardly any comparison except HWP, ball protection and catching ability.

3) Can Turner have another good year or has he peaked? He is what he is, a hammer who lost his initial burst and needs momentum to succeed. If our new OC can get Turner in open space with enough grass between him and a defender, he will be just as unstoppable as ever, but if we use him in short yardage situations, the offensive line must get a better push or Turner will get the same result as last year.

4) Who should get the most touches at running back? Snelling, but that’s just me. Turner will probably get 50% including an uptick in receptions, and Rodgers will probably get more of the remaining touches simply because Jacquizz will be in on more plays. Rodgers is the wildcard because he will be in on more passing downs. Snelling’s value and #1 job is being our #1 backup who spells Turner if he’s tired, or takes his place as our hammer if Turner can’t play due to injury during the season or the playoffs.

5) Should the Falcons have let one of the 3 go? No. Turner’s time is not up yet. Ask any defensive player in the league and they will say he was a load to try to stop last year. I see him having a very good year (1000+) with more receptions and probably more touchdowns. Snelling is solid as a rock (and cheap) and Rodgers will prove himself this season or not.

6) Is there enough play-making ability in the backfield? Enough speed? Playmaking? Plenty. Speed? No. The fastest one we have is Rodgers and he does not have breakaway speed. Although Quizz is fast he is not as fast as some of the other burners being drafted in the early and middle rounds in the past few years. My favorite aspects of Quizz are his height (hiding ability), catching ability, and his stellar record with ball protection. My least favorite are his speed and his escapability, even though he has had a few short yardage gems on sheer second effort.

7) Where will Snelling’s touches come from? In my mind Jason is a solid insurance policy and his number of touches aren’t important because they don’t relate to his great value. I would love to see him on the field more but it would have to take away directly from Turner touches, who I think will be strong this year with bigger holes to run through in a more creative offensive game plan. Having said that, if father time chooses this season for Turner’s body to break down, then we have the best backup in the league in Snelling.

8.) How many running backs should they keep on the 53 man roster? They should keep the same number but Smitty could sacrifice one spot if a rookie WR makes a splash. If we had the same number it would be fine, as reserve RBs are always some of the best special teams players.

9) Should there be some touches for a 4th RB speed back like Antone Smith? I think if Antone had anything special he would have showed it to us by now. His only strength as far as I know is special teams. When the world penciled in Rodgers as the Falcons’ new intermittent every-down back, Smith’s chances to get on the field with the offense went from slim to none.