The Colts likely will use more of a committee approach in the backfield this season, giving Turbin a heavier workload than last season's 47 carries and 35 targets, Mike Chappell of CBS 4 Indianapolis reports.
Turbin only produced 3.5 yards per carry and 5.1 yards per target last season, but he found the end zone on eight of his 73 touches, including three of his his four carries from inside the 5-yard line and seven of his 14 from inside the 10. Fourth-round rookie Marlon Mack may be the flashier option to alleviate some of 34-year-old Frank Gore's workload, but Turbin's strong work in the red zone and as a pass blocker makes him the better bet to handle a significant snap count in Week 1. Turbin still doesn't offer much upside, as he failed to produce a 20-yard gain last season and has a long gain of just 26 yards on 328 career carries. He'd likely share playing time with Mack, and possibly Josh Ferguson, in the event of a Gore injury.
Turbin will have to battle Josh Ferguson and 2017 fourth-round draft pick Marlon Mack for whatever touches Frank Gore doesn't get, Stephen Holder of The Indianapolis Star reports.
As expected, the Colts added backfield competition during the draft, making Mack the 15th running back selected (at No. 143 overall) in a strong class for the position. Turbin signed a two-year contract earlier in the offseason, but it's a modest sized deal which suggests he won't be handed the top backup job. Ferguson figures to compete for playing time on passing downs, while Mack is an immediate threat to supplant Turbin as the No. 2 option for carries.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard suggested Turbin could get more early-down work this upcoming season, Kevin Bowen of the team's official website reports. "Robert's had success in this league and he really niched out a role for us last year," said Ballard. "It'll be interesting to see if he can progress even more on first and second down and take some of the load off (Gore). But that'll be completely up to our coaching staff and Robert and how he performs."
Undrafted rookie Josh Ferguson handled most of the passing-down work early last season, catching 19 balls in his first five games, but then added just one more reception the rest of the year. Turbin and Frank Gore were the only running backs involved in the offense after Week 5, with the former serving as the clear backup to the latter, mostly getting snaps in passing-down, goal-line and two-minute situations. Although the Colts probably want to lighten Gore's workload heading into his age-34 season, Turbin won't necessarily have a larger role in the offense, as he'll likely have to compete with Ferguson and/or a rookie. Turbin re-signed with the Colts this offseason on a modest two-year, $2.7 million contract that could be worth up to $4 million with incentives. The deal suggests he could ultimately be re-signed to No. 3 status on the depth chart -- especially if the Colts select Gore's eventual replacement in the draft. It does at least seem that the team holds Turbin in high regard for his versatility and special teams contributions.
Turbin's two-year contract is for $2.7 million, with the potential for more based on playing time incentives, FOX 59's Mike Chappell reports.
The contract reportedly has a maximum value above $4 million, but that presumably includes some incentives which are highly unlikely for Turbin to reach. In reality, Turbin's contract is rather modest, paying him like a borderline No. 2/3 running back -- an accurate assessment of his ability. With Frank Gore turning 34 in May and the backup situation still a bit shaky, Turbin's new contract shouldn't preclude the Colts from taking a long look at some of the top running backs in the upcoming draft. The team also has 2016 UDFA Josh Ferguson, who handled much of the passing-down work early in his rookie season but essentially disappeared down the stretch. Considering these factors, Turbin has a tenuous hold on the top backup job despite his new deal.
Turbin's deal could reportedly rise to above $4 million, which represents good overall value for someone that quietly finished last season with eight total touchdowns. Although the presence of veteran workhorse Frank Gore leaves Turbin in a reserve role, he'll appreciate the stability of his situation after splitting the 2015 campaign between the Cowboys and Browns.
|P2||8/19/17||@ DAL||7:00 pm|
|P3||8/26/17||@ PIT||7:30 pm|
|1||9/10/17||@ LAR||4:05 pm|
|4||10/1/17||@ SEA||8:30 pm|
|6||10/16/17||@ TEN||8:30 pm|
|8||10/29/17||@ CIN||1:00 pm|
|9||11/5/17||@ HOU||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 11|
|13||12/3/17||@ JAC||1:00 pm|
|14||12/10/17||@ BUF||1:00 pm|
|16||12/23/17||@ BAL||4:30 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|