Running back Michael Turner is in line for the smallest workload of his NFL career this season, something that the Falcons have explained as being about keeping him as fresh as possible down the stretch.
The Falcons haven’t mentioned his weight as part of the equation for spreading the backfield work, but it has come up elsewhere in Atlanta. On sports radio and elsewhere, Turner has been called overweight. In a video interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Turner denied those claims and said that he weighs the same as he has throughout his career.
Turner has always been on the beefier side of things. When you combine that with his severe fades toward the end of the last two seasons, it makes sense that people would wonder if he was out of shape. Regardless of the time of the season, though, Turner has long struggled to produce against strong run defenses and piled up big numbers against weaker opposition.
Perhaps that will be remedied by a better balance with other backs or with a stronger passing attack, something new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has been charged with bringing to town. For the Falcons to take the next step up the ladder, one or the other will have to result in a more effective run game regardless of Turner’s weight.