The time has come for the Atlanta Falcons to cut veteran RB Michael Turner after this season. After joining the Atlanta Falcons in 2008 as a free agent after backing up LaDainian Tomlinson with the San Diego Chargers, Turner posted a career high 1,699 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. His career has been on the decline in subsequent years and it’s time for the Falcons to part ways with Turner after this season.
Turner, soon to be 31, is a big back at 250 pounds, and he now appears to be old and slow. He lacks explosiveness and appears to be indecisive in the backfield before making his cuts. Due to make $5.5 million in 2013, the Falcons need to release Turner and head in a new direction for 2013.
Turner looked bad in limited pre-season play and still appears to be struggling this season. Heading into this season, the Falcons coaching staff stated that Turner would be limited on his carries this year in order to keep him fresh heading into post-season play. Turner has suffered a late season meltdown in recent years, but it’s appearing that his meltdown started early this year.
In six games this season, Turner has averaged 3.1 yards per carry of less. He has recorded just 2 100-yard games this season and has just five rushing touchdowns. Against the New Orleans Saints two weeks ago, the league’s worst defense, Turner averaged just 1.2 yards per carry.
With the addition of Dirk Koetter as the Falcons offensive coordinator, there appeared to be a emphasis on the running back screen game. I thought RB Jacquizz Rodgers would play a larger role this season, but he really hasn’t been much of a factor in the Falcons offense this season. He has recorded just 166 rushing yards and 233 yards through the air and one touchdown this season.
The Falcons jumped out to an 8-0 record this season before losing to the Saints last week. Atlanta was fortunate to come away with a slim victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon while QB Matt Ryan threw five interceptions. Atlanta has a tough three game divisional stretch with games coming up against the Buccaneers, Saints and Panthers in the next three weeks. If there is anything left in Turner’s tank, the Falcons are going to need it heading into this stretch.