The Falcons have themselves a new weapon in the backfield with running back Todd Gurley. However, there’s a lot of speculation as to how well it will actually work out after Gurley had a disappointing season last year.
Gurley tore his ACL in 2014 and has since then, developed arthritis in his left knee but it’s manageable if cared for properly.
None of that seems to phase Falcons’ fullback Keith Smith who is stoked for Gurley joining the team.
“I’m just excited for what he’s going to bring because I know he’s got a ton of game left in him,” Smith told Ian Rapoport on his podcast “Rapsheet + Friends.”
Smith WIll Be Opening Up Holes for Gurley
It’ll be Smith’s job to help Atlanta get their run game back by blocking for Gurley. The Rams didn’t use a fullback to block for Gurley so it’ll be interesting to see how much better he is with a lead blocker. Smith made it clear that he’s ready to open holes for him.
“He’s smooth, man. If you watch Todd, he’s got great vision and he hits the hole and he goes. I just love that about him. I don’t think he had a fullback in Los Angeles, so it’s going to be dope to open up holes for him and see that part of his game open up for him.
“He’s not an easy guy to tackle, and you always love guys like that. You love blocking for a guy like that, because you know he’s going to make the first guy miss. Just knowing the type of player that he is, he’s going to help our team a lot and I’m excited about that, man.”
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Gurley Will Be on Touch Count
Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter confirmed that the Falcons will monitor Gurley closely and he will be on a touch count in Atlanta, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Koetter said that the team has a number in mind for the touch count but wouldn’t say the specific number. While the number is unclear, Ledbetter estimates that it could be between 15-20 touches a game based off of Gurley’s 2019 usage with the Rams.
Koetter will also consider giving him “veterans days off” which is dismissal from in-season practices.
Of course, this will change if Gurley’s performance skyrockets but they will play it safe for the Gurley’s and the team’s sake.
Falcons Sign Smith to 3-Year Extension
2019 ended up being a career-high season for smith. He appeared a total of 196 snaps in Atlanta and have five rushes for 8 yards.
The Falcons signed him to a 3-year deal in March.
Keith Smith has proven himself to the Falcons as a quality blocker. Atlanta struggled in the run game last year, but Smith could only pull so much weight. The team finished last season with the third-fewest rushing yards per game and went without a 100-yard rusher for the season for the first time since 2013.
But, this year will be one for the books since the Falcons have moved on from running back Devonta Freeman and replaced him with Gurley who gained 1,064 total yards of offense last season with such a “bad” knee.