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The back whose nickname is “Turner the Burner” ran more like a churner late last season. Turner (5-10, 247) averaged 5.6 yards per carry in September and only 3.4 yards in December.

The Giants shut down Turner and the Falcons’ offense in the playoffs. He had 15 carries for only 41 yards, including three stuffs, in Atlanta’s 24-2 loss.

The late-season decline and poor showing in the playoffs supported the theory Turner wore down last year. He didn’t look spent when he closed the regular season on Jan. 1 with 172 yards against Tampa Bay, including an 81-yard touchdown run that was the longest of his career.

There are expected to be more chances for the running backs to be used as receivers out of the backfield this season. Rodgers and Jason Snelling, who has 100 catches the last three seasons, could benefit from Koetter’s calls for screens.

Turner set a career high with his modest total of 17 catches for 168 yards last season.

Smith said Turner has never been asked to catch a lot of passes.

“I think that a knock on Michael prior to him getting here was that he didn’t have very good hands,” Smith said. “… We’ve had an opportunity to throw him the ball a couple of times when he was in the game last week and we did some of that in training camp. I think Michael has got good hands.”

Turner said he’s adjusting to the Falcons’ new emphasis on the passing game.

“I’m comfortable with it,” he said. “I caught more passes last year than I have before, so I’m just trying to get in the groove of things and just getting accustomed to the offense.”