It took eleven games. It took multiple games where Michael Turner averaged less than two yards a carry. it took the finest game of young Jacquizz Rodgers' career. What matters is that the moment a majority of fans, analysts and sentient rocks have been calling for has come to pass.
The Falcons backfield is now a committee.
Mike Smith confirmed this in remarkable clear words to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
"We feel like Jacquizz is a very viable option to carry the football and has done a nice job for us," Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "It has become more of the vogue thing to do, to have a ‘running back by committee.’"
It's an overdue day. Turner has been an absolute workhorse for this offense, and he was understandably reluctant to see his role shrink. The coaching staff stuck with him this year even though he's averaging a career-low 3.5 yards per carry and has two of the worst performances I've seen from a running back this season, two thirteen carry games where he put up 15 and 17 yards, respectively.
By embracing the committee approach, the Falcons have a chance to get the best out of all of their backs. Rodgers can be in the game on passing situations and run the football, Turner can be used between the tackles and in power-running situations and Snelling can be used whenever those two need to be spelled. While it's not as simple as that—none of these backs have been all that effective in short yardage situations, for example—it gives the Falcons more options and does not come with it a mandate to get Turner 12-20 carries a game.
I truly do appreciate everything Turner has done for the offense over these last few seasons. He'll be remembered fondly for years after his career in Atlanta runs its course, and the fact that he's done nothing but work for the team should be applauded. It was up to the coaching staff to recognize that giving him the bulk of the carries was an anchor on this rocket-powered steamship of an offense, and they have been slowly warming up to the idea all season. Last game, with Rodgers' 10 carries for 49 yards, finally caused them to make it official.
This does not mean Turner is benched, of course, but if it results in a more effective rushing attack, it's a huge move for the team. I'm interested to hear what you think of a rushing attack by committee. approach.