Atlanta running back Michael Turner admits he's in much better shape than he was back in 2009, and he's eager to play a major role in leading the Falcons back to the playoffs.
"I was big in the shoulders and the arms," Turner said. "My face was plump."
His head coach has noticed the difference.
"Michael's in better shape than he was at this point a year ago," Atlanta head coach Mike Smith said. "I don't know if conditioning had anything to do with his injury or not and he had his weight where we wanted it at the start of the season. He just got behind in his schedule last year because of the Pro Bowl and he had to work hard to catch up. We talked some about conditioning this year, but it wasn't like I had to order him to focus on it. He already was planning on doing it. He got an earlier start on it this year and it's definitely paid dividends. He looked great out there this morning and I saw him making cuts and looking as sharp as he ever has."
While Turner never offers much as a receiver, a full season from Turner should yield over 1,000 yards rushing and 10-15 touchdowns, making the Burner a solid first-round selection in most fantasy drafts. He scored 10 touchdowns in 2009 despite missing a lot of time due to injury. The Falcons also play the NFC West this season after having to play the NFC East last year, which certainly helps Turner's chances of making a big impact in 2010.