After spending the first four seasons of his NFL career as a backup in San Diego, Michael Turner became a workhorse in Atlanta in 2008, carrying 376 times for 1,699 yards. But after Turner suffered some injuries in 2009, Falcons coach Mike Smith thinks that 2008 workload was too much.
“It’s important for us to do a good job of monitoring his carries for the game,” Smith said at the annual league meetings. “We have to make sure we don’t overwork Michael throughout the season. We designed our game plan to get others involved.”
Turner was hampered by ankle injuries over the second half of the 2009 season, missing five games and totaling just 22 carries for 151 yards in the three games he played.
Smith said Turner may have rushed himself back into the lineup in 2009, but that in 2010 the more cautious approach will yield better results.
“He’s such a tough guy he wanted to get back in and play,” Smith said. “I think he’ll be bigger, faster and stronger this year.”