On the heels of two late season fades, the Atlanta Falcons have stated this offseason that they plan on reducing RB Michael Turner’s workload for the 2012 season. Turner has been a very productive back for the Falcons since being acquired via free agency in 2008. After backing up LaDainian Tomlinson in San Diego, Turner has made the most of his starting opportunity with Atlanta. Turner has rushed for over 5000 yards while scoring 50 touchdowns in four seasons.
Turner, 30, struggled down the stretch last season, crossing the 100-yard threshold just once in his last six games.
Fantasy impact- The Falcons have re-tooled their coaching staff in the offseason. Dirk Koetter has been tapped as the team’s new offensive coordinator. The Falcons figure to have a different look on offense this season with an emphasis on the passing game. Several reports out of Falcons camp this offseason also suggest the Falcons will run a multitude of screens in the new look Falcons offense.
In those situations, Turner does not figure to play a large role. Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers should be the backs employed in screen situations for the Falcons. Snelling was retained by Atlanta this offseason, signing a three-year deal worth $4 million dollars and has proved to be an adroit back catching the ball out of the backfield.
Do not expect Turner to come close to his 2008 campaign when he rushed for 1699 yards and 17 scores. 250 carries for around 1000 yards with 8 scores looks to be a reasonable estimate for Turner in 2012. Turner should no longer be considered a RB 1 at this point in his career. Turner has two years remaining on his contract with the Falcons.