Whom should Atlanta start at RB?
Tom Rock of Newsday reported that the Giants’ Justin Tuck said this week, “I think Rodgers is actually playing a little bit better than [Michael] Turner right now.” And he’s right.
Michael Turner is a shell of his former self and, while still valuable to the Falcons, isn’t nearly as effective as the more-explosive Rodgers.
The former Oregon State Beaver is averaging 4.1 yards a pop this season, compared to Turner’s 3.7. At 30 years old, it’s safe to say that Turner has hit the infamous running-back wall. It's the lowest yards-per-carry rate of his career and 0.8 yards fewer than what he averaged last year.
Last week, the Carolina Panthers’ 20th-ranked run defense was able to hold Turner to 14 yards on seven carries. Rodgers, on the other hand, recorded 21 yards on the ground on just four carries.
Given that New York's run defense (ranked 22nd in the NFL) is better than its pass D (ranked 27th), though, Matt Ryan’s arm is the Falcons’ best chance to keep pace with Eli Manning and company. But not only is Rodgers the more-effective rusher; he’s also superior to Turner as a receiving threat out of the backfield.
The second-year back caught four passes for 43 yards against the Panthers, giving him 43 receptions on the season. That’s as many receptions as Turner has racked up in the last three years combined.
Darren Sproles, a lightning-quick, undersized back in the mold of Rodgers, gave the Giants trouble last Sunday, as he gained 84 yards and scored two touchdowns on just nine touches—four of which were receptions.
With Kenny Phillips out due to a knee injury, New York struggles to matchup at times in the secondary.
If used properly, Rodgers will be just as effective as Sproles.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.