Of Jacquizz Rodgers And Increased Carries

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01: Jacquizz Rodgers #22 of the Atlanta Falcons scores a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Georgia Dome on January 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

As Alex Welch wrote yesterday, in what has become an annual rite of late spring for these Falcons, the team is talking about limiting Michael Turner's carries. I hope you have a fainting couch ready.

This is so laughable because the Falcons have never limited Turner's carries. We first heard this meme pop up after the 2008 season, when Turner got about half a billion carries and destroyed the entire NFL. The team talked about limiting his carries to save his legs, which they accomplished only because Turner got hurt and missed part of the season.

The story was much the same in 2010 and 2011, so it's hard to take the team seriously when they say crazy things like "Michael Turner will get fewer than 300 carries." There's a caveat to that, though, which I'll touch on in a minute.

Of course, if they do actually cut Turner's carries, there's two primary beneficiaries.

The Passing Game

This is the obvious benefactor. Cutting Turner's carries by 10, 20 or 30—anything more than that is probably unrealistic—will result in the bulk of those plays going to the passing game. Given that Matt Ryan and his suite of weapons will probably do quite well in Dirk Koetter's slightly more open offense, this isn't a bad thing at all.

Jacquizz Rodgers

This is the big one. Pre-season platitudes aren't worth the carbon dioxide they're carried on, obviously, but I do believe the team sees enough in Rodgers' skillset to make this worthwhile.

The reason to believe this will happen? A combination of the evolution of the offense and the inevitable aging process. This is Atlanta's possible last year with Turner in the fold, so it's not like they're going to pass up the chance to squeeze every last yard out of him. But to preserve him for the playoffs, they're going to need to cut the carries a bit, and Rodgers is the most logical beneficiary of that. Particularly if they want to start giving him more carries in the post-Turner era.

How do you think Turner and Rodgers will fare?

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