|Michael Turner's DUI arrest early Tuesday morning is just one distraction the Falcons are facing in their short week. Here Turner scores on a 1-yard touchdown run against the Broncos on Sunday. (US Presswire)|
The Falcons are facing a number of logistical problems stemming from Monday's night's late game as they prepare for their first West coast trip to San Diego. First and foremost, they need to overcome the grueling toll that Monday’s game took on the team.
“That was a very physical football game [Monday night] and that was way too long and ended way too early in the morning,” coach Mike Smith said on Tuesday.
The game was slowed by a few scuffles and various extended stoppages as the replacement referees tries to sort out the chaos. Atlanta's secondary, which was already depleted after losing Brent Grimes (ACL) for the season after Week 1, was forced to play Dominique Franks in their nickel set because Chris Owens left the game with a concussion. Owens is now in the league’s concussion protocol and is questionable for Sunday’s game vs. the Chargers.
“With a short week, that limits the time frame in terms of getting him back. We can’t rule him out completely,” Smith said.
Numerous other players including linebackers Sean Weatherspoon and Stephen Nicholas as well as wideouts Roddy White and Julio Jones, were limited with various leg ailments but none are expected to miss Sunday’s game.
The impending West Coast trip also puts a strain on the Falcons’ mental clocks. Smith said that the team will travel to San Diego on Friday and have a walk-through practice on Saturday before Sunday’s 4:05 p.m. ET start.
“We try to keep our body on East Coast time the whole time that we’re out there. It’s worked for us. It’s something that I picked up from Brian Billick,” Smith said. The Falcons are 5-0 under Smith in West Coast games.
Smith addressed Turner: Falcons running back Michael Turner was arrested early Tuesday morning for driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding, following the team’s 27-21 win. Smith declined to say what type of penalties Turner could face.
“If there is going to be any internal discipline, then it will stay internal. That will be the conversations that we’ve had with Michael and the conversations that we’ve already had,” Smith said. “I don’t want to discuss the options that we have,” he later added.
Turner has gotten off to a poor start so far this season, rushing for just 74 yards on 2.6 yards per carry. Coach Smith wouldn’t speculate whether the incident had anything to do with his on-field performance.
For more Falcons coverage, follow Mike Singer @CBSFalcons.