The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter has a thorough, patient response to Twitter-based suggestions that the Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars should swap running backs: long-time Atlanta workhorse Mike Turner for current contract holdout Maurice Jones-Drew.
Here's a shorter refusal: Hell no.
In the last year, a small but growing contingent of Falcons fans seem increasingly miffed with Turner, who, in their estimation, is getting slower and older (he's 30 years old entering the 2012 campaign). While aging isn't debatable, Turner's footwork is - already this preseason coaches have stated publicly that they're not even concerned with the running game, and aren't attempting to push Turner to hit holes, break tackles or tear off one of his signature rumbling, downhill plays that carried the Smith-Dimitroff era Falcons to success from 2008 through the development of Matt Ryan.
Turner is 30, Jones-Drew is 27. Both are trademarks of a dying industry - the big name feature back. A newfound reliance on the passing game and the successful utilization of no-name committee running attacks in New England and Green Bay have nulled the trend of signing a can't-miss back to a big contract. Jones-Drew has deaf ears to this development, and Atlanta has developed a promising stable of backs behind Turner to gently lower the load. Jones-Drew is, roughly, Turner about two years ago without the scheme that made Turner so successful.
The Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars are certainly bound together by a few personnel fates - Atlanta's head coach Mike Smith is a former Jags' assistant under Jack Del Rio, and in the offseason Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey replaced Del Rio as head coach, while Dirk Koetter left the OC job in Jacksonville to rejoin Smith in Atlanta. And that's just the top line. There are plenty more, including a slew of assistants swapped between Smith and Mularkey, and receiver Laurent Robinson.
The strongest Xs-and-Os argument against such a deal is that Koetter likes Turner. The system is fine. Jones-Drew certainly isn't a "problem player" just for holding out, but why reinvest a substantial amount of money in a back when you've already worked a deal with your current one four years ago?
The strongest emotional argument is that despite whatever fans might have disliked about Mularkey's vanilla offense (pick a gripe, there's plenty) is that when he's rushed for over 100 yards, Atlanta has a 22-3 record since his arrival in '08. If he's truly breaking down, that issue's being addressed, but with a resume like that, Falcons fans owe the man some respect.
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