Falcons head coach Dan Quinn says new running back Todd Gurley could be limited in training camp, per ESPN’s Vaughn McClure. This news doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as Gurley was often given time off to keep his knee healthy over his last couple years with the Rams.
The Rams let Gurley go last offseason just two years after signing him to a $60 million four-year deal. That contract coupled with his arthritic knee were the impetus for his release. Gurley’s knee trouble started in college when he tore his ACL in his left knee. Since then, the knee has slowly gotten worse, as we’ve seen through news reports, game play, statistics and the eyes of anyone watching him regularly.
Gurley did pass his physical, so he is still able to perform at an NFL level, with rest. Just like the Rams, it looks like the Falcons will manage his reps and work to get him ready for each game. That method worked well enough for Gurley to score 14 touchdowns last season, but those touchdowns were the highlight of a poor season statistically. Gurley rushed 223 times for 857 yards for a 3.8 yards per carry clip, his worst since the dreaded Fisher years. He had his fewest number of receptions since his rookie year, as he caught 31 for 207 yards. His 6.7 yards per reception were the worst of his career.
Can Gurley be a 200 carry 30 reception back in Atlanta with the team managing his touches? Probably, but getting anywhere near the production he had earlier in his career is likely a pipe dream. Brian Hill and Ito Smith are currently Gurley’s backups and will likely factor into game plans often this season.