Todd Gurley is coming home to Atlanta and there’s a lot of questioning as to whether or not the Falcons are getting the same playmaking running back they saw when he was at UGA and early years with the Rams or is he completely washed up.
NFL analyst and Pro Football Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson has doubts about his knee and the impact he’ll have in Atlanta.
“I was the first guy that thought Todd Gurley would bounce back in 2019. I just figured that what happened to him at the end of 2018 was a fluke and he would be fine in 2019. And I didn’t see that,” Tomlinson said during Friday’s NFL Total Access. “He averaged less than four yards a carry for the second time in his career. But beyond that, his longest run was 25 yards. So I see a guy that doesn’t have that explosiveness to him no more. I don’t believe he’s a guy that can hit the home run on every-single play. He can still be very serviceable. He still has double-digit touchdowns.”
Tomlinson, a former running back for the Chargers might be a reliable source since he knows what it takes to succeed at the tailback position but also, he didn’t have the health issues Gurley had so he can’t really speak on his behalf.
Falcons Can’t Rely on Gurley
Tomlinson doesn’t have much confidence in Gurley’s knee at all. He thinks that while Gurley will be able to make some plays, the Falcons will need to rely more on their backups than him.
“But I believe that at this point in his career, he’s going to need a committee of backs to help him stay fresh. We still may see situations where he might break out and have 125 yards, but those days of him having seven-yard runs, I don’t think we’re going to see that ever again from Todd Gurley. I think his knee is just too bad at this point.”
The Falcons knew what they were doing when they jumped on signing Gurley hours after the Rams released him. Matt Ryan will have a nice weapon to use in the backfield and Atlanta will sell tickets.
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Of course, Atlanta knew his knee situation when they added him to the roster and they knew insurance on Gurley would be needed.
On top of that, the Falcons also knew they wouldn’t be giving him a full workload this season. Between Ito Smith, Brian Hill, Qadree Ollison, and Craig Reynolds, the Falcons have a pretty stable rotation to work with.
Where Gurley’s Knee Problems Began
He first tore his ACL in his left knee during a win over the Auburn Tigers in 2014 while he was still at Georgia which led to his reconstructive knee surgery.
All was well and then the No. 10 overall pick in 2015 NFL Draft started to decline in stats in 2018 and 2019. According to Gurley’s former athletic trainer with the Rams, torn ACLs lead to arthritic symptoms down the road. However, it wasn’t expected them to hit Gurley this early on in his career at the ripe age of 24 (he is now 25).
To balance the negative, there has been a lot of positive signs that his knee is doing fine.