The Falcons Should Keep Running Right

Scott Cunningham

Seriously, they should.

Another week down, another performance from Michael Turner for the disgruntled Falcons community to groan about. The running game for the Falcons continues to provide a lackluster display, and nothing seems to be getting done to rectify the situation at hand.

Fortunately, there are a few positive takeaways to examine after 10 games of a mediocre ground game. Turner is averaging 3.7 yards per carry so far in 2012. Don't worry, that's not the positive. When you breakdown the run plays called and the direction in which the ball carrier goes, we're seeing a vast disparity in yards accumulated when running towards the right side of the line.

Pro Football Focus, a site I mention in roughly 99 percent of my articles, provides just the breakdown I was discussing in the previous paragraph. They give us which running back went which direction for how many times, the numbers of yards gained for each direction and who is performing the best in run blocking. According to PFF, the right side of the line is where it's at for Atlanta.

When running towards right tackle, the Falcons have tallied up 133 yards on 28 carries for an average of 4.8 yards per. When running at the right end they've gained an even better 175 yards on 35 carries for 5.0 per. Turner averages 4.8 YPC at right tackle and 4.9 YPC at the right end. That seems like a strong indication of where his touches need to be going.

PFF rates Tyson Clabo as the best in run blocking for Atlanta so far. His 3.4 rating is by far the most impressive on the team, while Sam Baker comes in with an uninspiring -5.1.

Now to be fair, Turner does enjoy some success running at the left end as well, where he's gained 73 yards on 15 carries overall. However, at left tackle he's averaging just 2.5 yards per carry, giving us a sense of where he finds the most room to run.

Turner's best run from Week 11 came on a draw play to the right that resulted in 10 yards (it's not much, but I'll take anything right now). Clabo and Peter Konz cleared out a huge area for Turner to fall in behind, and Konz managed to make it up field and get his hands on a few more defenders along the way.

Is running right more often suddenly going to launch Turner to Pro Bowl status? No, but it can't hurt. Overall the ground game is more successful going towards this side of the line. That's something to keep in mind heading into another weekend with fans absolutely dreading what the rushing attack has in store against the Bucs.

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