Tag Archives: michael turner

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints Preview

Mike Smith is just 2-6 against the Sean Payton-led Saints. (John Bazemore)

Mike Smith is just 2-6 against the Sean Payton-led Saints. (John Bazemore)

For the fourth consecutive season, the Atlanta Falcons open the season on the road, and there’s no better way to get the season started than to face the Falcons’ most hated rival in the New Orleans Saints.

The emotion will be high in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with the return of head coach Sean Payton, who was notoriously suspended for the entire 2012 season. Since Payton became head coach in 2006, the Saints have posted an 10-2 record against the Falcons.

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Preseason Week 1: Falcons Get Rolled by Bengals

Steven Jackson didn't find much running room against the Bengals. (David Goldman)

Steven Jackson didn’t find much running room against the Bengals. (David Goldman)

In what seems to be a common theme in preseason for the current regime, the Atlanta Falcons were blown out 34-10 by the Cincinnati Bengals in the Georgia Dome.

Before I delve into the positives and negatives of the game, let’s address two points:

1) It’s only preseason. Last preseason, the Falcons went 1-3 and finished the regular season with a 13-3 record and a trip to the NFC Championship Game.

2) The Falcons rarely win in preseason. It’s the status quo.

Also of note: Julio Jones and Sean Weatherspoon both sat out. Jones is nursing a sore hamstring and Weatherspoon has a badly disclocated finger.

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Atlanta’s Can’t-Lose Player for 2013

Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan would have to get really creative if the Falcons were to lose Osi Umenyiora for the season. (Steve Mitchell)

Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan would have to get really creative if the Falcons were to lose Osi Umenyiora for the season. (Steve Mitchell)

ESPN’s NFC South Blog recently published an article highlighting the can’t-lose players for the teams in the division. As expected, quarterbacks are excluded from the discussion.

According to the author, Matt Williamson, the Atlanta Falcons’ can’t-lose player is Steven Jackson.

I can definitely see the reasoning for selecting Steven Jackson; the Falcons’ struggles to run the ball last season are well-documented. Michael Turner’s decline was sharp and sudden. As Williamson points out, Jackson is an upgrade over Turner in every regard; he still has tread left, and he’s perfectly capable of catching the ball – something Turner couldn’t do. The addition of Jackson provides the Atlanta offense with another dimension, and makes the passing game much deadlier.

However, with that said, the Falcons still boasted one of the league’s best offenses thanks to their dynamic passing attack.

Jackson is a solid choice, and while I understand the selection, it’s not a choice I particularly agree with. Instead, I have to look to the other side of the ball and select Osi Umenyiora.

Last season, the Falcons had 29 sacks as a team – that total was good for 28th in the league. With John Abraham gone, the Falcons are looking to Umenyiora to fill his shoes.

If Umenyiora were to get injured, the Falcons would have no semblance of a pass rush unless Kroy Biermann, Cliff Matthews, Jonathan Massaquoi, and rookies Malliciah Goodman and Stansly Maponga can all step up in a huge way.

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Steven Jackson and the Falcons Passing Game

Expect Steven Jackson to be featured heavily in Atlanta's passing game. (David Tullis)

Expect Steven Jackson to be featured heavily in Atlanta’s passing game. (David Tullis)

Back in February – before the Atlanta Falcons officially signed Steven Jackson – I speculated what the running back would bring to Falcons passing game.

Recently, during organized team activities, head coach Mike Smith had this to say to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“He’s a big strong running back that catches the ball extremely well. He creates issues for defenses. He’s just another weapon that we have in our offensive arsenal. He’s a guy who had close to 100 catches in a season, so he’s a guy that we can use in the passing game. He’s not just a running back, he’s a receiving back as well.”

While Michael Turner was a monster for the majority of his time in Atlanta, he was woefully inept as a pass catcher. In his five seasons with the Falcons, Turner totaled 59 receptions for 457 yards and one touchdown. Over the same five-season span, Jackson caught 217 passes for 1,738 yards and two touchdowns.

Whether you want to look at Smith’s quote, offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter’s penchant for using screen plays, or Jackson’s involvement with the passing game during his tenure with the St. Louis Rams, this much is certain: Steven Jackson will be featured heavily in the passing game with Atlanta. Pair Jackson with Jacquizz Rodgers and you’ve got a couple of running backs who should pose several problems out of the backfield for defenses, particularly when you factor in Tony Gonzalez, Julio Jones, and Roddy White.


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Falcons Agree to Terms with RB Steven Jackson

Steven Jackson is a huge addition to the Falcons offense. (Bill Greenblatt)

Steven Jackson is a huge addition to the Falcons offense. (Bill Greenblatt)

The Atlanta Falcons have agreed to terms on a three-year contract with running back Steven Jackson on Thursday.

The Falcons had a hole at the running back position after they released Michael Turner. Even so, the running game was largely ineffective in 2012.

The move to sign Jackson changes that. Although the running back will be 30 years old once the season starts, he’s a perfect fit for Atlanta’s offense with his ability to catch the ball.

Jackson voided the last year of his contract with the St. Louis Rams to become an unrestricted free agent. He wanted to play for a contender, and he got his wish.

With Matt Ryan, Tony Gonzalez, Julio Jones, Roddy White, and now Jackson, the Falcons offense is set and could potentially be the best in the league.

Now it’s time to address the defense.

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Falcons Trading for Darrelle Revis Would be a Terrible Move

It would be a waste to trade multiple draft picks for a one-year rental. (Jim McIsaac)

It would be a waste to trade multiple draft picks for a one-year rental. (Jim McIsaac)

The Atlanta Falcons are reportedly interested in New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis.

Unquestionably, Revis is better than any player in the Falcons secondary. He’s a true shutdown corner, and the Falcons pass defense would improve dramatically.

However, the 27-year-old cornerback is coming off a torn ACL injury. There’s also the fact he’s going into the last year of his contract, and the Falcons would need to meet his financial demands of between $12 and $16 million per year to keep him for more than one year. Otherwise, the Falcons would be trading multiple high draft picks for a one-year rental, and that’s not a feasible option when the Falcons have needs to address in the draft.

Last week, the Falcons freed up cap space by releasing veterans John Abraham, Dunta Robinson, and Michael Turner.

However, as D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution points out via Twitter, that cap space will be used to take care of their own:

Revis on the Falcons would be awesome, and it would continue general manager Thomas Dimitroff’s streak of making a big move each year. But as it stands now, the Falcons are in no position to take the plunge for the best cornerback in the league.

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Falcons Release Three Big-Name Veterans

The Atlanta Falcons have released defensive end John Abraham, cornerback Dunta Robinson, and running back Michael Turner.

The Falcons traded with the New York Jets for Abraham in 2006. He was originally selected by the Jets with the 13th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. The defensive end played seven seasons with Atlanta, and he notched 68.5 sacks. He had a career-high of 16.5 sacks in 2008. Last season, he had 10 sacks.

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Steven Jackson to the Falcons?

Steven Jackson to the Falcons makes a lot of sense. (Duane Burleson)

Steven Jackson to the Falcons makes a lot of sense. (Duane Burleson)

St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson will void the final deal of his contract, and the Atlanta Falcons look like a perfect landing spot for him.

Atlanta will likely release running back Michael Turner, so they’re in the market for a veteran running back to pair with Jacquizz Rodgers.

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Championship Round Preview: Atlanta Falcons Vs. San Francisco 49ers

It’s the first time the Atlanta Falcons will host an NFC Championship Game, and it’s the second consecutive year the San Francisco 49ers will appear in said game.

Last year, the 49ers hosted the championship game and lost 20-17 to the New York Giants. There’s little doubt San Francisco (12-4-1) will look for that extra nudge to get over the hump and earn themselves a trip to Super Bowl XLVII.

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