And for the record, I think Turner's production is due for a significant drop-off this year.
You've been saying that for 3 years now. Of course it's going to happen eventually, Turner has been logging some miles for this team. Good, hard miles that have helped this team turn it around.
This will be Turner's last in a Falcons uniform, no doubt. At long last Pudge, your "prediction" will finally come true. We all bask in your greatness.
No matter how many times you say it AJ51, it doesn't make it true. Between the end of 2008 and beginning of 2011, the only time you'd ever find me being critical of Turner is that month-long span at the beginning of 2009 when I suggested that if he fumbled for a 5th time in 5 straight games, that he might need to be benched in order to resolve the problem. My "hate" of Michael Turner only has develeped over the past 8 or so months because I see a vastly diminishing player that no longer fits what this team needs at that position.
And I don't buy this. Thomas Dimitroff is a Belichick disciple. Belichick disciples trade their diminishing assets.
Yet, despite this tutelage, the moves this tema has made over the past year or so suggest that TD doesn't always practice what BB preaches.
I look at New Orleans, or for that matter, the New York Giants, and they had their share of Turner style running backs. It didn't seem to slow down their pass offenses any.
I'm assuming you're referring to Chris Ivory and Brandon Jacobs? Well for the record, Brandon Jacobs was never the workhorse in NY over the years that Turner has been this year. When the Giants offense was at his best, he split carries with players like Derrick Ward, Bradshaw, etc. As for the Saints, when their offense has been most efficient, I wouldn't consider Bush, Sproles, Ingram, Thomas, etc. to be Turner-style guys. Sure, Ivory and Mike Bell have been valuable role players, but never have been the featured option at any point over the last 7 years that Payton has been there.
Mentally, conceptually, Dimitroff didn't have the kinds of coaches that could play 21st century offense, even if, as War Room explains, TD is in love with "athletes", as opposed to large Belichick-Parcells style linemen. In this case, I'm blaming Mularkey. It would be a case of a team that couldn't pass without a significant play action threat because it doesn't know how.
Yet, the "revelation" that Mularkey wouldn't know how to use Jones properly is not really a revelation at all. Nothing in his 9 seasons as play-caller prior to the acquisition of Jones indicated that he would be able to take full advantage of his skills. That's why I don't blame Mularkey for being who he is. I blame TD for not knowing who Mularkey is/was. That's part of the self evaluation of your team, that a good GM is going to know what style of play his coaching staff prefers and to not build a team/acquire personnel that does not fit in with that style. That's the area of this tenure that I think TD has struggled the most with during his time here in Atlanta, proper self-evaluation.
I also believe (and the season has yet to play out, so who knows..) that no one worries much because Turner is in the last year of his contract. He can be cut anytime if his performance drops off,
Actually, Turner has two years left on his contract.
My take on Atlanta, popular or no, is that not only offensive creativity failing this team in the playoffs, but so the absence of impact defenders. And the major cause of the first problem is now a head coach elsewhere. If they can stay the course offensively, get some fresh coaching blood in that knows the modern game, and then get a couple impact players on defense, they will be better set to actually advance in the playoffs.
For the most part, I agree with this.
And it simply beggars my imagination when people decide that Atlanta isn't the reincarnation of "Air Coryell" because of the presence of one Michael Turner. I guess guys like Jim Otis never occur to analysts these days.
It's not about being Air Coryell, it's all about knowing who you are identity-wise, and understanding how your current players and potentially new players fit into that style.
Michael Turner is a player that fits in a ball-control offense, as you've suggested. But the problem is that his diminishing skillset makes him far less efficient in that style of offense than other players. In essence, you'd prefer to have a similar style runner but with fresh legs, or at least a nice stable of runners with fresher legs. But even so, if that's the style of offense you want to run, then it demands being able to consistently win in the trenches with strong OL play, and to a lesser degree being able to win on the defensive side of the ball with strong DL play.
Unfortunately for the Falcons, even if you're going to say let's give Turner one more year, then it's in your best interest to devote significant assets to improving both of your lines, especially the O-line, something this front office has failed to do. So even if keeping Turner is the right move, not doing more to significantly improve your front 5 is the wrong one.
And on the other hand, if the goal is to move into the 21st century with a more explosive passing attack. It doesn't mean you abandon the run, it just means at the core of your offense the goal is to generate as many explosive plays as possible, then a player of Turner's style doesn't fit that bill. Because if your offense is centered around generating explosive plays down the field, then you're going to want again a fresh-legged RB that can either suck up the safeties into the box, and preferably one that can also be a factor out of the passing game, so that when you do decide to throw the ball he can still contribute there. And on those other explosive passing teams that have Turner-style RBs that aren't good in the passing game, they are guys that generally only get 150-200 carries. Because if/when they trot out on the field, teams know that it likely means they are going to run the ball, and therefore a truly explosive passing attack cannot afford to have that guy get 300+ carries as the Falcons have done with Turner. A good example of this is the Law Firm in New England, with 180 carries in 2011, most of which come in the 2nd half of games when the passing game has built up leads, because he is like Turner, a mediocre pass catcher, and not particularly adept in pass protection.
I don't know. I ask myself the question: how does Norv Turner's offense - a potent passing offense that can win playoff games - differ from this one? He had no problem playing Michael Turner, and suffered when he lost the big man.
There's a difference. Norv's offense is designed to maximize it's explosive potential with a seam-splitting TE in Gates, and 2 very good deep threats in V-Jax & Floyd. While they do run the ball quite a bit, and you could certainly argue that they are a team that needs to run the ball to be effective, the difference is that players such as Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert are both good in the passing game (both had over 50 catches last year), so that their presence on the field really can't tip a defense to what is about to happen.
Gonzo isn't really a seam-splitting TE. That's not what he's best at. He's best as a 3rd down option and redzone throw, not a guy that is going to scare teams with his ability to generate explosive plays downfield if you leave a defender on an island. Thus he doesn't complement the outside WRs as much as Gates does in SD, because his presence on the field doesn't challenge secondaries to either cover him or the outside threat. In SD, when all of those guys are healthy and playing well (which really hasn't been the case the past 2 years), you're pretty much damned if you do (rolling coverages to Gates and leaving your outside CBs on islands against Floyd/Jackson) or damned if you don't (rolling your coverages to help our your CBs, but then putting Gates on an island with a S/LB/nickel CB).
That Falcons don't present such a challenge, and it's one of the reasons why in terms of being an explosive passing attack, the Falcons are largely AVERAGE, while the Chargers even when their offense isn't at full capacity are still one of the most explosive offense in the league over the past 3+ years.
The point is that at the end of the day, the Falcons have to decide what they want to be? And all of their personnel decisions, and IMHO their indecision on the fate of Michael Turner indicate their lack of identity offensively. There is nothing they do particularly well i.e. on an elite or near-elite level that scares opposing teams, and I think that more than anything is holding them back come January. And I think the teams that win in January, generally excel in at least one aspect of the game: running the ball, throwing the ball, and/or playing good defense (esp. pass defense).
This does not describe the Falcons, and until it does I think they'll always been on the outside looking in. And IMHO, Michael Turner no longer helps you excel in any area of offense, not at this point in his career. Two or three years ago? Yes, but not any more. And therefore, I don't see the point of having a declining lame duck RB for 1 more year (which most seem to admit is the case) when he's not going to add much to the team in the meantime...