Atlanta Falcons: Michael Turner Is Turning Heads in the ATL

Derek CoffeltSenior Analyst IOctober 9, 2008

I normally stick to the sport I know best, baseball. However, the Falcons have been near and dear to my heart ever since their Super Bowl run in 1998 so I decided to try my hand in the football realm.

I remember exactly where I was during that infamous NFC championship game against the Minnesota Vikings. I remember Morton Anderson's field goal, I remember the dirty bird dance, I remember Andre Rison.

Even though the Falcons may have lost that Super Bowl it made me pay attention to the team. It even brought me, my oldest brother, and my father together for a final regular season game five years ago.

I've been a fan when Michael Vick electrified the crowd with his feet and was a part of the "DVD" package of Duckett, Vick, and Dunn several years back. I was still a fan even after the indictment and eventual conviction of Vick back in 2007.

The Falcons have always been the team I watched on Sundays and the team my Mom cheered for so loudly whenever they scored a touchdown or made a big play. I remember those days as if they were yesterday.

The Falcons have been many things in my past but now I have something bigger to look forward to—Michael Turner.

Now, don't get me wrong. The Falcons have a huge emerging star in Matt Ryan at quarterback and a legitimate vertical deep threat with Roddy White. However, none of that would be possible without a solid run game.

Turner leads the league in rushing yards, with 543, and has six touchdowns. He's already racked up three 100 yard rushing performances including the Falcons single game record of 220 back at the start of the season.

I know what you're thinking.

"Those big games were against Detroit, Kansas City, and Green Bay—some of the worst run defenses in the entire league."

I won't argue that point. The point here is that despite the talentless defenses the Falcons have faced, they're turning heads. People are even contemplating that "p" word—playoffs. Even in the hard hitting NFC South, the Falcons have a puncher's chance of making it into the postseason.

I was like a bunch of critics when Atlanta signed the man only known as the fullback that was in the shadow of LaDainian Tomlinson. Not much was known about Michael Turner other than this fleeting connection with arguably the best running back in the NFL.

Warrick Dunn had done a respectable job of being the every-down running back for the Falcons and I figured they would stick with that production. When Turner was signed, I had many questions race through my mind. When I ultimately drafted him in my fantasy league, I was not at ease about the pick.

Many of those questions have been put to rest for me because of his bruiser-type running style. Analysts all around are saying that San Diego had a diamond in the rough that never had a chance to shine.

As a Falcons fan, I believe now is Michael Turner's chance to do just that.