Falcons' Turner facing possible diminished role

Falcons' Turner facing possible diminished role

Published Aug. 23, 2012 4:25 p.m. ET

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Michael Turner, who has the most carries in the NFL the last four seasons, is facing the possibility of a diminished role this season.

Turner has flourished in Atlanta's run-first offense, claiming the Falcons' career record for rushing touchdowns in only four seasons.

There are new questions for the 30-year-old Turner in a pass-first offense. He looked slower late last season and in limited carries in his first two preseason games.

New offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter's scheme is emphasizing Matt Ryan's passes, including screens that may better suit the skills of second-year running back Jacquizz Rodgers.

Coach Mike Smith said this week Turner is still "our No. 1 back." The veteran has a chance to disprove his doubters in the Falcons' preseason game at Miami on Friday night.