2011 Falcons Roster Breakdown: Michael Turner And Jacquizz Rodgers Will Be A Dangerous One-Two Punch

For the past decade, the Falcons' offensive successes have almost always been a product of a great ground game, and 2010 was no exception. The Falcons' rushing attack ranked 12th in the NFL and will be led once again by Michael Turner, who posted 1371 yards and 12 rush TD's on the year. The numbers aren't mind blowing, but with the offensive reliance on the passing game steadily increasing this shouldn't be too concerning.

However, make no mistake: even though Matt Ryan had a stellar year at QB for the team, still expect offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey to remain committed to the ground game. It's worth noting that since hiring Mularkey in 2008, the team has ranked 2nd, 11th, and 5th in team rushing attempts.

Projected Depth Chart:
(Player:  College, Years of Experience)

Halfback:
1. Michael Turner:  Northern Illinois, 7 yrs
2. Jacquizz Rodgers:  Oregon State, rookie
3. Jason Snelling:  Virginia, 4 yrs
4. Antone Smith:  Florida State, 2 yrs
5. Gartrell Johnson:  Colorado State, 2 yrs

Fullback:
1. Ovie Mughelli:  Wake Forest, 8yrs
2. Jason Snelling:  Virginia, 4 yrs

 

Departures:  Jason Snelling will most likely be given unrestricted free agent status once the lockout ends, and it seems to be pretty clear that he wants to test the market in the hopes of starting for another team in 2011. It would be nice if the Falcons could keep him, as Snelling is a guy who is quite versatile, but his asking price will probably be too high.

New Arrivals:  Jacquizz Rodgers, who was selected in the 5th Round of this year's NFL Draft. Rodgers is small, even for a running back, listed at 5'6 and 196. But Rodgers' forte is being a very quick and shifty runner, and he provides the Falcons offense with the perfect complement to Michael Turner.

What To Expect in 2011:  Even with the drafting of Rodgers, expect Turner to still be the featured back in the Falcons offense. Rodgers will most likely serve as the main backup to Turner and as a change-of-pace back. Beyond that, in all likelihood the Falcons will only keep one more tailback on the 53-man roster for 2011, with either Antone Smith or Gartrell Johnson rounding out the list.

As far as fullback is concerned, Ovie Mughelli is still the no-doubt starter, and has been both a solid run-blocker and a great all aroud fullback during his tenure as an Atlanta Falcon.

For more on the Falcons, join The Falcoholic.

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