Falcons running back Michael Turner was not himself last season. Sure, he averaged 4.9 yards per carry, nearly a half-yard more than in his 1,699-yard debut season in Atlanta the year before. But watch the film and you’ll see an inconsistent, sluggish runner who struggled to change directions or hit his holes with great initial burst. Some would assume Turner’s late-season ankle problems were a factor, but the 28-year-old (27 at the time) was struggling early on, well before injuries hit.
Now, we know why. In an article by SI.com’s Jim Trotter, Turner says, "If you go back and look at some pictures of me from last year at this time, I probably looked big -- a lot bigger than normal," Turner says sheepishly while kicking back after a recent organized team activity. "I was heavy, too heavy. It was hard for me to overcome."
Turner is listed at 250 pounds. He didn’t specify what he weighed last season, but said he’s back to his desired weight this summer. (He wouldn’t be discussing the issue publicly if he weren’t.) Whether this translates to more production remains to be seen.
Turner is one of the best tackle-breaking runners in the game. He’s only been a featured back for two seasons in his career (he backed up LaDainian Tomlinson in San Diego his first four years), but his bruising style of play can take a toll. The Falcons have excellent depth at running back with electrifying (though raw) Jerious Norwood and downhill inside runner Jason Snelling. With a full-strength Turner and Mike Mularkey’s power-based scheme. the Falcons could challenge Carolina, Minnesota, Dallas and New York for the most punishing rushing attack in the NFC.
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