After consecutive seasons rushing for more than 1,300 and 11 more touchdowns, running back Michael Turner of the Atlanta Falcons rushed for more than 500 less than in 2012 than he had in 2011. Turner’s time as one of the better backs in the NFL appears to be over as well as his time in Atlanta according to Chris Wesseling of NFL.com:
Citing “those in the know,” the National Football Post now reports the Falcons will be in the market for a running back this offseason. “Chances are” the team will cut ties with Turner, who has lost his ability to “bounce and cut” at age 31.
At the age of 30 or above, running backs in the NFL tend to no longer be as productive as they once were. On occasion, backs over the age of 30 can still produce Pro Bowl caliber numbers, but it doesn’t happen all that often and it appears to be the case with Turner.
The Falcons may have experienced one of their most successful seasons in franchise history in 2012 with quarterback Matt Ryan leading the team to the NFC Championship game. Despite coming short of a trip to the Super Bowl with a second-half collapse against the eventual NFC champion San Francisco 49ers, the season was considered a success and a step forward for a franchise that has struggled in the NFL playoffs with Ryan under center.
Atlanta’s offense was one of the main reasons for the team’s success this past season with Julio Jones emerging as one of the league’s elite at the wide receiver position alongside veteran’s Roddy White and tight end Tony Gonzalez. The Falcons’ defense left something to be desired, but was good enough to potentially take them the distance.
As for Turner, the veteran back only rushed for 800 yards and scored a total of 11 touchdowns. The touchdown total remains impressive, but the rushing yards production was way down and enough to convince the team that he’s not worth the $6.9 million set to be paid to the veteran in 2013.