|The Falcons shouldn't forget to use Michael Turner despite their elite passing game. (AP Images)|
The Atlanta Falcons couldn’t be disappointed with their 40-point outburst against the Chiefs in Week 1, but they will need to incorporate their run game if offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is to maximize the team's assets. There has been so much buzz surrounding Matt Ryan’s outstanding game and the Falcons’ two star receivers, Roddy White and Julio Jones, that it almost seems like the running game is an afterthought.
The Falcons’ Michael Turner was third in the NFL last season with 1,340 rushing yards. Yes the Falcons have an elite passing game but does that mean you abandon a balanced offense, especially since a productive running game keeps linebackers closer to the line and opens up passing lanes?
Turner had just 32 yards against the Chiefs, his lowest total in 14 games. His 11 carries matched his second-lowest total all of the 2011 season. The gameplan against Kansas City included a pass-heavy offense dependent on Ryan’s precision. But Denver, Monday night’s opponent, was the 22nd ranked rush defense last season, conceding 126 yards per game.
Coach Mike Smith acknowledged that Atlanta’s ground game needs to be more productive. “We’ve got to be able to run it more effectively and more efficiently,” he said. “We have to stay on our blocks. We missed some blocks and we missed some cuts. It was a group effort.”
Turner doesn’t think his opening-week performance was any cause for concern, despite his 2.9 yards per carry average.
“Not after one game. If it’s a couple weeks down the road, and I’m still looking like that, then trade me off your fantasy teams,” he said to Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Not to mention, the longer the Falcons keep the clock moving with the ball on the ground, the longer Peyton Manning remains on the sidelines.
Falcons sign CB Terrence Johnson: Brent Grimes’ torn ACL left the Falcons at 52 players on the active roster until the team signed 26-year old Terrence Johnson who appeared in 10 games last season with the Colts and started twice.
Johnson, who had 37 tackles last year before injuring his forearm, played predominantly in nickel coverage for the Colts.
Chris Owens, the team’s fourth cornerback, will likely start at inside defensive back.
“I’ve played outside. I’ve played left corner. I’ve played right corner. I’ve played inside in the nickel. It’s just about staying grounded and doing the little things,” Owens told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Ryan says Julio Jones has potential to be best WR in NFL: Matt Ryan spoke highly of his second-year wide receiver Julio Jones when Ryan appeared on “The Jungle” with Jim Rome on Tuesday. Ryan, who’s thrown eight touchdowns to Jones in his past six games, agreed with Rome when asked if Julio Jones could be “Megatron good,” a reference to Detroit’s Calvin Johnson.
“He’s physically capable of being as good as anybody in this league,” Ryan said. “Julio has a way to go to get to where [Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald] are at but as far as physical skills go, he has everything you want from a wide receiver.”
For more Atlanta Falcons coverage, follow Mike Singer @CBSFalcons.