Michael Turner has seen his workload significantly drop this season in the Atlanta Falcons' pass-happy offense.
After rushing for 1,300-plus yards two seasons in a row, Turner has just 675 yards heading into Week 14. He might not add to that Sunday against the Carolina Panthers after the Falcons listed Turner as questionable with an elbow injury.
The timing is convenient. The Falcons have been using more of Jacquizz Rodgers in an offense that fits his gifts. Rodgers has 23 carries over the past three games, more action than he saw over the five previous games.
Smith believes Rodgers is ready to jump into the lead role if called upon Sunday.
"Absolutely," Smith told The Associated Press on Thursday. "Jacquizz is one of many guys we feel like deserves to get touches on our offense. If need be, we think he can take carries that other guys may get in other games."
With the NFC South wrapped up, the Falcons have a chance to road test Rodgers before the playoffs. It creates a troubling issue for Turner's fantasy owners heading into their playoff matchups, but he probably already has scared most of them off this season. Besides, this is about real life.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.