Falcons' Turner feels better days are ahead
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner has heard the critics say that he's too slow and too old to convert short-yardage downs.
He couldn't disagree more.
“Everybody's going to nitpick,” Turner said Thursday. “We're a different team this year, obviously, with philosophies and things like that, but I mean we're 8-1. That's the bottom line. To get Ws. We're not worried about it.”
Coming off their first loss of the season, Turner and the Falcons were punchless in short-yardage situations last week at New Orleans.
The two-time Pro Bowl running back was held to his least productive day in five seasons with Atlanta, running 13 times for 15 yards.
But Turner said that the Falcons have done far more right offensively this season than they've done wrong.
Atlanta ranks fourth in passing and seventh in scoring, but just 26th in rushing. Turner insists that the Falcons only need to make a few corrections against Arizona (4-5) on Sunday to get the running game operating efficiently.
Last week was ugly. On eight plays, New Orleans stuffed Turner either for no gain or lost yardage. The worst came on third-and-goal at the 1 in the game's final 2 minutes.
The Falcons lined up in a seven-man front, sent tight end Michael Palmer in motion and had fullback Mike Cox ready to take on a defender to spring Turner.
Instead, a blocking breakdown by left tackle Sam Baker trigged a collapse that allowed three Saints to tackle Turner in the backfield. On the next snap, Matt Ryan's go-ahead touchdown pass to Roddy White was knocked down.
Turner gave the Saints credit instead of blaming his teammates.
“Sometimes defenses are going to have good schemes against us and be able to get good penetration and things like that,” Turner said. “It's just something we have to handle and run different types of plays sometimes and just clean it up.”
It wasn't the first game in which Atlanta and Turner had struggles. In 40 attempts inside the opponents' 10-yard line last season, Turner averaged a paltry 1.1 yards. The year before, he had just 1.3 yards on 41 attempts.
“We don't take anything for granted,” Turner said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.