Should the Falcons release Michael Turner after 2012?
Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner’s production has hit a wall in 2012, but the Falcons shouldn’t release Michael Turner after the 2012 season. Every Falcons fan has contemplated the release of Turner, especially after the 2011 season with the emergence of backup running back Jacquizz Rodgers and Turner’s production dropping along with it.
However before Falcon fans throw Turner under the bus. One must realize that Turner’s drop in production is mainly due to a combination of the Falcons becoming a more pass happy offense and the team’s increased usage of Rodgers.
From 2011 to 2012, Turner’s average rushing attempts dropped from nearly 19 carries in 2011 to around 14 in 2012. While that may not seem significant, it is the difference between Turner rushing from 848 yards which Turner is projected to finish in 2012 and 1150 yards if Turner had the extra 4 carries.
Turner is simply not being utilized as much as he was from 2008-11, but it’s not like Turner is robbing the Falcons blind. Turner’s salary in 2012 is only 7.5 million dollars and that salary matches his production.
So the question is why all the hating on Michael Turner? Yes, he’s lost a little bit of the explosiveness he had back in 08-11, but he’s still a running back that can handle the lion’s share of the carries.
Can Jacquizz Rodgers handle 14-20 carries a game being only 5’6? Rodgers being as small as he is makes him more susceptible to concussions and the way Rodgers is being used right now fits his game perfectly.
Turner and Rodgers complement each other perfectly and why go messing up something that works pretty well right now. Now the Falcons can draft a running back in 2013 to eventually replace Turner, but Turner should at least be allowed to finish his contract in Atlanta.
Turner may not be producing as highly as he did back in 08-11, but he wasn’t being paid as much as he is now back when he was producing at a high level. Turner was a major benefit to the development of quarterback Matt Ryan, by Turner being the focus of most defenses while Ryan was learning the ropes.
So I say, let Michael Turner finish out his contract in 2013, because he truly deserves the money for the years he put in back in 08-11. If you disagree, you are entitled to your opinion, but at least remember those years before you make the decision to honestly strip money from Turner that he really deserves.
James Cobern is a Featured Journalist for TPF and can be contacted at JCobern@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com.