Gurley’s physical that should give full confirmation on his knee and playing time has been on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak, so all we can really do is wait and see.
However, Koetter did confirm 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.
Gurley’s Workload Must Be Managed
A pro football doctor for 17 years, Dr. David Chao says that Gurley can still be a productive player if his workload is properly managed. Aside from counting touches, the Falcons might also consider giving him “veterans days off” aka a dismissal from in-season practices.
“The arthritis in his knee will not go away but can be managed,” Chao wrote for The San Diego Union-Tribune after Gurley was released by the Rams. “Gurley still has plenty of football left in him, but his carriers/touches will need to be limited as well as his practice time. Going forward, Gurley can still add value as a part-time running back, but teams need to adjust expectations given the health of his left knee.”
Gurley averaged 3.8 yards per carry last season and put up career lows in carries with 223 and yards with only 857. Still, a total of 14 touchdowns with such a bad knee isn’t terrible.
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Falcons GM Confident in Gurley’s Physical
Falcons general manager, Thomas Dimitroff said in a local media conference last month that he is confident Gurley will pass the exam.
“We have language in our contracts that are going to protect us and the player. If the player comes in and has an issue that he might not pass a physical, then that’s something that we’ll address then. We’re not looking at it that way [of Gurley possibly failing the physical]. In our mind, we’re thinking about Todd Gurley coming in … he really takes care of his body well and he’ll continue to work on it.”
An NFL physical normally takes up to four hours and exams each bone to the touch in a player’s body. In Gurley’s case, of course, his exam will primarily focus on his knee.
Fans have to remember that Gurley is already joining a solid offense that consists of 10 former-first rounders as starters.
Matt Ryan is arguably the most reliable quarterback in the game. Julio Jones is ranked the top wide receiver and then you throw Calvin Ridley and Hayden Hurst into the mix. There are playmakers left and right of Ryan now. Not to mention, the Falcons’ have a trusty running back depth of Brian Hill, Ito Smith, Qadree Ollison, and Craig Reynolds
At the end of the day, the team isn’t solely relying on Gurley to make the play and as the doc said, his playing days aren’t over.