FanPost

First and Ten: The Agony of Michael Turner

Over the past season,Michael Turner has been polarizing figure in the Falcons land. The biggest knock on Turner is lack of consistency in the running game, often putting the Offense in 2nd and Long situations.. Last week, Turner was ranked second in the NFL for being elusive and breaking up tackles. How can he be both bad and good at the same time? The answer is in one of my favorite quotes.

"Statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital." ~Aaron Levenstein

Lets jump in to the post to see Where Turner ranks among the RB on first down success rate when the game is with in a score. This is to measure how clutch,helpful and effective a running back is when the game is on the line.

I downloaded the play by play data from here, I stripped out the juicy parts and massaged the data to identify a run play,pass play,by player,direction etc. After loading all that in a database I pulled this data.

To Measure the effectiveness of the running game, lets take a look at few of the terms.

Total Carries(TC): Total Carries on first down, when the distance togo is at least 10 Yards to go. This is to eliminate the Goal line or short yardage situations which doesn't result in 2nd and long. The list includes only the running running backs with at least 70 TC.

Successful Carries(SC): A Carry is successfull on first down when the RB gains at least a yard or a carry doesn't result in a 2nd and Long(2nd and 10+).

Negative Play: Negative play is when a running back loses yards and the offense is forced in to 2nd and 10+ yards.

Off Run %: Offense Run% is the percentage of running plays compared to total plays for same situations as TC.

Player

Off

TC

SC

SC %

Sc%Rk

NP

NP %

NP%Rk

Off Run%

M.Jones-Drew

JAC

104

97

93.26

1

6

5.76

1

63.18

D.Williams

CAR

82

72

87.80

2

5

6.09

2

50.87

S.Greene

NYJ

80

70

87.50

3

6

7.50

6

54.28

F.Gore

SF

97

84

86.59

4

8

8.24

8

52.96

R.Rice

BAL

97

84

86.59

5

6

6.18

4

61.68

W.McGahee

DEN

114

98

85.96

6

8

7.01

5

70.90

M.Bush

OAK

99

85

85.85

7

8

8.08

7

61.33

A.Foster

HOU

81

69

85.18

8

5

6.17

3

53.81

M.Lynch

SEA

105

88

83.80

9

11

10.47

13

54.68

R.Bush

MIA

83

69

83.13

10

11

13.25

16

60.15

A.Peterson

MIN

71

59

83.09

11

10

14.08

18

57.02

R.Mendenhall

PIT

91

74

81.31

12

10

10.86

14

57.29

S.Jackson

STL

92

74

81.31

13

9

9.89

11

57.67

C.Wells

ARI

112

91

81.25

14

11

9.82

10

53.87

R.Mathews

SD

86

69

80.23

15

11

12.79

15

53.07

R.Helu

WAS

70

56

80.00

16

7

10.00

12

56.33

C.Benson

CIN

117

93

79.48

17

11

9.40

9

62.73

M.Forte

CHI

73

56

76.71

18

10

13.69

17

64.91

M.Turner

ATL

116

80

68.96

19

25

21.55

20

61.22

C.Johnson

TEN

87

58

66.66

20

13

14.94

19

51.83

Successful Carries : Key Observations

  1. Maurice Jones-Drew tops the list with 93.2% of the running plays resulting at least a yard. He was the only player to have a success rate over 90%, its even more impressive when you consider he was the only weapon for JAC last year.
  2. Michael Turner was second to last with a success rate of 68.9%. Turner and Chris Johnson were the only RB with success rate less than 75%. He had 36 carries which resulted in no gain or loss in yardage, this is no surprise as Falcons were often forced in 2nd and long situations.
  3. There were 16 RB on the list who had more than 80% success rate.

Negative Plays: Key Observations

  1. Maurice Jones-Drew sits again on the top of the ranking with negative play% of only 5.76%. I hope there is some DK magic involved here which can help Turner.
  2. Michael Turner is last on the list with a Negative play percentage of 21.5%. He also leads the list with 35 Plays resulting in the yardage loss. None of the other RB on the list had a Negative play percentage of more than 15% except Turner.

Off Run%: Key Observations

  1. Denver ranked first with off Run% of 70.9, not surprising considering Denver was not comfortable throwing the ball with Tebow at QB.
  2. Atlanta ran the ball 61% compared to passing on just 39% on first down and 10 or more yards to go with game on the line. This was good for 8th rank among all the teams. I personally would like to see the running play percentage go down to 55% or just above 50%.
  3. CAR ran the ball just over 50%, least percentage of run plays in the above list. This is surprising considering how stocked up they are with running backs.

This pretty much shows how bad Turner/Falcons running game was last year on first and 10 with game on the line. Turner except when running to Left Guard did equally bad in all directions, also number of carries in different directions were pretty even. There could be a significant portion of MM effect in this performance. However, Turner must stop tiptoeing to the line and being indecisive about going sideways or North and South. In the next post on Turner I will dig deeper in to areas where Turner is in Top 5 among the RB. What do you think Falcons and Turner can do to improve on First down success rate and avoiding the negative plays.

<em>This FanPost was written by one of The Falcoholic's talented readers. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The Falcoholic.</em>

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