While Michael Turner talks of shedding pounds, Jamaal Anderson talks about gaining them. In both cases, it's the best news possible.
Anderson has been a colossal bust at defense end for the Falcons, providing respectable ability against the run but less than nothing against the pass since being drafted by the Bobby Petrino era team. Some guys would be out of town, but the Falcons see the ability to turn that run defense into an asset. Just to cement that, he's put on 15 pounds and gotten himself up to about 290 pounds, putting him at the perfect weight to swing between end and tackle.
I'm not saying this is going to catapult Anderson to the top of the depth chart at either position. Barring a miracle, he's still going to be the guy that makes John Abraham say:
"I think for him, and I'm not even trying to be like rude about it, I think you've got to play, you've got to get on the field," Abraham said. "Everybody expects a lot from him and he's got to step up."
But positional versatility suddenly makes Anderson a much more valuable player. If he can rotate in at defensive end and defensive tackle when the team clearly needs to lock down the run or aren't blitzing, then he's a relatively cheap young lineman who is at the very least a quality runstopper. The Falcons probably aren't going to want to keep him around past this season unless he really takes a step forward, but I applaud the team for making the best of the talent they have at all times. I also applaud Anderson for putting his ego in check for the sake of the team.
If I had to make a crazy prediction for JA98—thankfully I've got the crazy part nailed down already—I'd say maybe 150-200 snaps, 30 tackles and not much else. Given how far my expectations have been lowered, that actually doesn't sound all that bad.