According to statistics from Football Outsiders, Michael Turner was the worst performing running back in the NFL in week 10.
Now, Football Outsiders is on what some would consider the ‘cutting edge’ of football statistics. I have always tended to be an old-school statistics type of guy, but there is no denying that you can find some truth in these advanced statistics that groups like FO have put together.
According to the DYAR statistic (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement, which gives the value of performance when compared to an average replacement player) Michael Turner had a -52 DYAR. That’s really putrid. Basically the statistic is saying that if you gave an average NFL running back (Snelling or Rodgers) the carries that you gave Turner, they would have been able to generate 52 more yards. So on those 13 carries, those backs would have been able to get 67 yards rather than just 15. Not great, but still better than what amounted to nothing.
That’s what the advanced statistics say, and there’s a lot of variables that the statistic doesn’t cover. Yes it adjusts for the defense you’re playing, but there are just too many variables to boil it into one statistic. So I’m going to look at Turner’s statistics from the lense of an old-school statistical guy: Turner had 15 yards on 13 carries, good for a 1.15 yards per carry average. He barely had more yards than he had carries. Talk about not getting it done, and Turner epitomized that phrase. I don’t know if another back would have been able to do a better job, but at this point I’d sure like to give them a shot to try.
I don’t think there’s any doubt that the offensive line let down Turner and the Falcons running game to a great extent, so we can’t place full blame on Turner. I’m going to watch the game film of the game, and give my weekly audit of the Falcons offensive line this afternoon. That will be even more telling how much responsibility Michael Turner should actually bear.