Falcons 6-0 but Turner is frustrated with running game (UPDATED with video)




Michael Turner found little room to run on those rare occasions when he was given ball. (AP photo)

Michael Turner found little room to run on those rare occasions when he was given ball. (AP photo)

When a team is a 6-0, every negative critique should begin and end with, “… but they’re 6-0.” Because ultimately, the record determines the standings, the playoff field and whether some climate-controlled, pass-dominating offensive Dome team is going to be forced to head for the snowdrifts of Green Bay or Chicago in January in the postseason.

So we start again by reaffirming that the Falcons are 6-0. All hail.

But anybody witnessing the last three victories, sloppy exercises over mediocre opponents Carolina, Washington and Oakland, can attest to the team’s issues going into the bye week. Need confirmation? Ask their starting running back, who has had a close-up look at probably the Falcons’ biggest failing right now: their lack of a running game.

When Turner, a relative spectator in the mistake-plagued 23-20 win over the Raiders’ Sunday, was asked about the Falcons going into the bye week “the right way,” he didn’t respond with sunshine and lollipops.

“Yeah, a win is a win,” he said. “But we’re looking at something beyond just winning right now. We’re trying to be special and special teams don’t play like that.”

Beyond Matt Ryan’s three interceptions, beyond the defense allowing the NFL’s worst rushing team to run for 149 yards, beyond an offense that was matched in touchdown production by one late-game Asante Samuel pick-six but again was rescued by the foot of Matt Bryant, the Falcons’ problems start with their inability to jam the ball down the other team’s throats.

Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has all of these wonderful toys to play with. It’s clear Atlanta is now a pass-first team. That’s fine. The NFL has become a pass-first league. But at some point the Falcons will need to be able to run the ball, whether it’s late in the season, and/or on the road, and/or in the playoffs

Trailing 13-10 in the third quarter, they had a first-and-goal at the Raiders’ 2-yard-line following a turnover but had to settle for a field goal. The plays: incomplete pass, Turner for 1 yard, Snelling for a 1-yard loss (from the one-foot line).

Tied at 13-all in the fourth, they had a third-and-a-foot from their 45 but opted for a passing play. Ryan misconnected with Tony Gonzalez. They punted.

Turner seems frustrated. He was held to 11 carries for 33 yards Sunday. Ryan covered half that with a 15-yard scramble. The team’s rushing total: 45 yards.

The Falcons have managed to tip-toe around this issue all season. It hasn’t gotten in the way of them winning yet, but that seems inevitable.

Ask the running back.

“I’m not sure why it’s going like this,” Turner said. “It’s great to be 6-0 and everything. But we can’t just assume we’re always going to be able to get an interception or a last-minute field goal every time. At some point we’re going to have to run the ball. We’ve got to be able to knock it in [the endzone].”

Turner’s runs by quarters: two for 12 yards, three for 12, three for minus-one, three for 10.

Some of this lack of production is on him. He looks slow at times.

Some of it is on the offensive line. It generally has been far better at pass protection this season than opening holes or getting any push. (It wasn’t good at either Sunday.)

Has Turner lost confidence?

“No. I’m still here. I’ve never lost confidence.”

Have the Falcons lost confidence in Turner or their ability to run the ball at all?

“You would have to ask them that. That’s not something they would tell me. It’s their team, their scheme, their offense. I’m just here to try to help them win.”

Coach Mike Smith conceded the running game isn’t where he would like it to be. He referenced the first-and-goal drive, saying: “I know the next question is going to be when you’ve got the ball on the 1½-yard line, do you feel like you have to get it in there? Yes. The goal of our football team is real simple. It’s to score points and to score points any way that we can.”

They managed just enough again. They have won their last three games by two, seven and three points on drives with :05 (field goal), 2:46 (touchdown) and :01 (field goal) left. That makes them 6-0. But they’re playing a dangerous game.

By Jeff Schultz-

327 comments Add your comment

Chris

October 14th, 2012
6:22 pm

6-0 GO FALCONS!!!!!!!

Kane337

October 14th, 2012
6:26 pm

I’ll take an ugly win over a pretty loss. Gotta get better though. These last 3 weeks haven’t been pretty.

Russ

October 14th, 2012
6:27 pm

It’s THEIR team Michael? Really?? Not what I want to hear from the starting RB.

Not Disappointed

October 14th, 2012
6:28 pm

I will take an ugly win any day of the week! Turner had another off week, but we are winning! 6-0 is okay in my book! :)

Nice read Jeff!

pb

October 14th, 2012
6:32 pm

When cannot score from 2 yard line, in three attempts, there has to be a problem. Yes,,6-0,but very shaky. Not good long term unless fix the problems.

southern hope

October 14th, 2012
6:37 pm

Russ, I sort of get what Turner is saying….only a very small handful of players are allowed into management-think…on this team, maybe only Ryan. So Turner is being practical….he knows that in the NFL, he plays/they manage.

Weaseal

October 14th, 2012
6:38 pm

Dude needs to get real we saw his pic (Mug) real early on a Monday morning we all would have been fired -

Chris

October 14th, 2012
6:40 pm

No complaints here. I’ll complain when we lose a game. Think about how supportive those Raider fans were coming all the way here to watch their awful team. Maybe we should just enjoy this run for the time being…I know I am!!!

RobbE33

October 14th, 2012
6:41 pm

There are indeed issues but the sky hasn’t fallen and as long as the Falcons get hot in December when it matters is fine by me. Still…

5150 UOAD

October 14th, 2012
6:49 pm

I wouldn’t sell my soul to get the Falcon’s Running game but We are still winning.

It happens to even the best….a Stumble……..October 22, 1972 Buffalo Bills W 24–23 6–0

rollo lawson

October 14th, 2012
6:51 pm

I agree with Turner. The coaching staff saw that the Raiders were starting their 3rd and fourth string corners and began to lick their chops, forgetting about Truner and the running game. This game plan almost resulted in the Falcons losing. Keep in mind too that Turner’s first couple of runs were productive. this coaching staff needs to realize that Matt Ryan doesnn’t have to win every game with his arm. Also, Garrett Reynolds is going to get someone killed. Get Peter Konz ready NOW!!!

The Grinch

October 14th, 2012
6:51 pm

Free Queezy! But really, though, I kind of expected more out of him so far. And Turner doesn’t sound happy. I just hope he’s happy enough to give it his all for the rest of the season ’cause I doubt he’ll be here after that.

JP

October 14th, 2012
6:52 pm

I agree with Michael Turner; they don’t have a running game. They need a back with speed and power. Turner has NO BURST WHATSOEVER, and can’t even break tackles unless he has at least an 8-yard head of steam. He may be a bowling ball, but most of the time he plays like a bowling ball that your grandma rolled.

5150 UOAD

October 14th, 2012
6:53 pm

October 2 4:05 p.m. EDT at Arizona Cardinals W 31–27 3–1 University of Phoenix Stadium Fox Recap
5 October 9 1:00 p.m. EDT Seattle Seahawks L 25–36 3–2 MetLife Stadium Fox Recap
6 October 16 1:00 p.m. EDT Buffalo Bills W 27–24 4–2 MetLife Stadium CBS Recap
7 Bye
8 October 30 1:00 p.m. EDT Miami Dolphins W 20–17 5–2 MetLife Stadium CBS Recap
9 November 6 4:15 p.m. EST at New England Patriots W 24–20 6–2 Gillette Stadium Fox Recap
10 November 13 4:15 p.m. EST at San Francisco 49ers L 20–27 6–3 Candlestick Park Fox Recap
11 November 20 8:20 p.m. EST Philadelphia Eagles L 10–17 6–4

The NY GIANTS LAST YEAR

Falconsfaninaugusta

October 14th, 2012
6:53 pm

Ok fine BUT they are 6-0 people!!!!

rollo lawson

October 14th, 2012
6:56 pm

Anybody that knows anything about football was yelling at the TV screen today. Stick with running the football and set up the play action pass. Just line Polite up in front of Turner, Snelling, and Rodgers. Only Snelling should be lined up as a single back on pass plays. Jacquizz and Turner are not receiving threats. They remind me of Ron Garvin. Hands of Stone!!!

pb

October 14th, 2012
6:56 pm

enjoy it while it lasts! Maybe this is the year, they finally do the whole deal.! But issues still remain, yes.

Supes

October 14th, 2012
6:57 pm

Yes, the running game is not showing up, same old thing when it’s a short distance they can’t seem to convert it…I’m sure it’s somehow going to be “Matt Ryan’s” fault…where are all the haters?

rollo lawson

October 14th, 2012
6:58 pm

I don’t care what anybody says. Our coaching staff got out-coached today. We won only because we had superior talent.

5150 UOAD

October 14th, 2012
7:01 pm

4 October 2 at Arizona Cardinals W 31–27
5 October 9 Seattle Seahawks L 25–36
6 October 16 Buffalo Bills W 27–23
7 Bye
8 October 30 Miami Dolphins W 20–17
9 November 6 at New England Patriots W 24–20
10 November 13 at San Francisco 49ers L 20–27
11 November 20 Philadelphia Eagles L 10–17
The NY GIANTS LAST YEAR

FALCONS look as good as the NY Giants.

moboman

October 14th, 2012
7:05 pm

Burner needs to burn off 10-15 pounds and regain some burst. Wont affect his power.

ChipperisGod

October 14th, 2012
7:07 pm

Scary game today. Gotta do a better job of run defense, and gotta get the running game going. We rushed it pretty well against the Redskins and the Raiders were sending far more pressure than the Skins did. We should have tried some more runs.

If we can’t get the run game going and more importantly, if we don’t stop the run, we’re going to be taken down. I don’t care what our record is. We’ve got to step it up in those two areas.

Those three picks by Matt were bad, but we know he’s better than that and wasn’t getting the protection he needed, particularly on the last one.

Nolan’s defensive scheme does not set up well for the run, and it showed today. We looked like a Van Gorder defense at times today and not like our usual selves. Mike Peterson in particular with that bad missed tackle showed our vulnerability. Does anyone know if Asante is ok? It was bad enough that Grimes went down, but if he’s down too, we’re in trouble.

Andy Reid has had our number at Philly for years. I don’t remember a time that we even beat them in recent memory at their place. I don’t think it’s happened under the Blank regime. Gotta use this bye to really get at Mike and force him to keep turning the ball over and do our best to shut down McCoy. He could eat us up in two weeks.

Come on Dirty Birds!!!! Good resiliency today, but we can play better than that! Falcons are easily our best hope in terms of breaking down that playoff barrier that has plagued our town for years.

Last time the Braves advanced in the postseason was 01.

Last time the Falcons did was in 04.

The Hawks are the only team to get past the first round since then, and that was in 2011.

I think the Falcons are good enough to run with the niners and Giants for an NFC title. We’ve shown it this year. Today was not a good example of that. But we can do it, I believe in this team!

Go Falcons!

5150 UOAD

October 14th, 2012
7:16 pm

The 49ers were the Best team with a loss. Then the Texans were the best team with a loss……………..Well the 49ers look like CRAP today. at HOME………….Screw the Falcon Haters……………

Big Crimson 75

October 14th, 2012
7:20 pm

Grinch — Quizz is terrible.
It’s Burner or bust.
The Falcons are the only team in the NFL where the fans don’t scream for the back-up QB or RB!!

Nothing wrong with winning games on Defense & Special Teams.
Yes, we gave up a late scoring drive, butt they overcame 3 offensive TO’s today.
This was our least impressive win, butt Al Davis said it best — Just Win Baby

DawgNole

October 14th, 2012
7:24 pm

ChipperisGod
October 14th, 2012
7:07 pm

Andy Reid has had our number at Philly for years. I don’t remember a time that we even beat them in recent memory at their place. I don’t think it’s happened under the Blank regime. Gotta use this bye to really get at Mike and force him to keep turning the ball over and do our best to shut down McCoy. He could eat us up in two weeks.
_________________

As big as this W was today, with the bye week coming and all, that one in two weeks is bigger. And yeah, it’s because of their QB. Need to treat him up there like we did down here last year.

dawggirl

October 14th, 2012
7:31 pm

“Hell I heard this once before…….Even BAD SEX is GOOD cause it is still SEX……”

True for guys, not so much for women. But I agree with the sentiment.

I do like Smitty’s attitude in heading in to the off week in contrast with CMR. Smitty knows there are a lot of things to fix, and he is concerned with doing just that.

Let’s be grateful for the 6-0, and get to work during the bye week.

Answer This

October 14th, 2012
7:38 pm

Dont care how we won…it was ugly….dont care about how we have played the last three weeks….not good….dont care about Ryan’s bad day….it was bad…..dont care about the D getting gashed…..it was awful
I DO CARE ABOUT MT33 SAYING ITS THEIR TEAM…..YOU NOT ON BOARD ANYMORE MIKE? If the running game is broke then your responsibility to fix it MT33….if you cant get me a yard when I need a yard you have no room for complaining…..instead of pointing fingers point one at the man in the mirror and show us your tenancity to run the frigging ball. Get hungry!

Eric C.

October 14th, 2012
7:41 pm

Dang, Eagles get a bye too…was hoping they were playing next week.

Me Too

October 14th, 2012
7:42 pm

But at some point the Falcons will need to be able to run the ball, whether it’s late in the season, and/or on the road, and/or in the playoffs

It should read:
But at some point the Falcons need a better running back to run the ball, whether it’s late in the season, and/or on the road, and/or in the playoffs.

Bottom Line:
Even when Michael Turner was running the ball very well in the past four years, the Falcons rarely won the very big games and won none of the playoff games. He needs to be benched.

phil

October 14th, 2012
7:42 pm

Great to win, but if this is what we are most of the time, and it clearly is, we’re doomed come January…..

phil

October 14th, 2012
7:45 pm

Answer this finally making sense….

Me too? Not so much.

phil

October 14th, 2012
7:47 pm

5150 needs serious psychological counseling…..

And didn’t say employees liked me. Said family did.

As for wife, might be surprised, little fella…

Thyglow

October 14th, 2012
7:47 pm

His comments seem a bit slanted towards “them, their”, etc. Not the “team” comment one should expect from someone buying into the program. Perhaps “me” might be a bit more appropriate.

Thyglow

Moorman

October 14th, 2012
7:50 pm

You have to be physical to run the ball……….jury is still out on that…….

MTSeats

October 14th, 2012
7:51 pm

New project, buy Blank a new stadium with tax money!! CaChing!! Ain’t life great!! How about winning a SuperBowl first.

phil

October 14th, 2012
7:54 pm

MTSeats
October 14th, 2012
7:51 pm

New project, buy Blank a new stadium with tax money!! CaChing!! Ain’t life great!! How about winning a SuperBowl first.

*********
never gonna win one. Give up now.

TROTTINGHOME

October 14th, 2012
7:55 pm

look at other teams who are suppose to be good…all but the texans have a loss

phil

October 14th, 2012
7:55 pm

Giants would’ve beaten us 40-0 today….

Sigh

phil

October 14th, 2012
7:57 pm

We’ve played no one….

All crap teams.

Let’s remember that. We’re doomed.

ZinoDawg

October 14th, 2012
7:58 pm

@BigCrimson – you got it bro – “just win baby”.

Winning ugly may hurt you with the BCS but don’t mean diddly in the NFL.

Big Enos Burdette

October 14th, 2012
7:58 pm

The Falcons feel like the Bulldogs before the South Carolina game.

"Chef" Tim Dix

October 14th, 2012
7:58 pm

At the 1 foot line, there is only one play to run and it doesn’t include Turner.

Ryan is supposed to be able to tell you what his center had for breakfast.

5150 UOAD

October 14th, 2012
7:59 pm

So PHIL you really think I would be surprised?
I think the Stats would PROVE you Wrong more times than you think you really SCORED.

phil

October 14th, 2012
7:59 pm

Big Enos – COMMENT OF THE DAY!!

Exactly….

phil

October 14th, 2012
8:01 pm

Wrong again, 5150….

Wrong again.

5150 UOAD

October 14th, 2012
8:02 pm

WOW phil…………..I guessed I missed where there were 11 people standing on the other side of the Line-of-Scrimmage for the first 6 games.

Jeff Schultz

October 14th, 2012
8:04 pm

5150 UOAD — That’s twice I’ve deleted the same comment. You’re over the line.

GFJacket

October 14th, 2012
8:04 pm

Where is MCR??? The 3 picks today should have elicited a plethora of derision…

phil

October 14th, 2012
8:06 pm

Don’t get yourself tossed, 5150…..

No point in crossing the line.

5150 UOAD

October 14th, 2012
8:06 pm

OK Jeff………He moved to this blog so i reposted it.