The coronavirus outbreak led to a very unusual offseason for the NFL and many other professional sports. However, the quarantine limitations didn’t stop Matt Ryan from getting familiar with his new teammates.
The Atlanta Falcons starting quarterback headed to Southern California work in with a handful of teammates including his new running back, Todd Gurley. Ryan told ESPN that he was “really impressed” on what he saw from Gurley.
Ryan Believes Gurley Adds A Lot
This week the players arrived at training camp and Matt Ryan did his media round where he praised Gurley some more when asked if he’ll change Falcons’ offense this season.
“He’s been one of the most dynamic players when he’s on the field in our league. (He’s) certainly a game changer. I had the opportunity to work out with him a little bit and spend just a little bit of time with him. He seems to be in a really good place. He looked great on the field. Has been working extremely hard to get himself in position to be ready to go. I’m excited we have him. I think he adds a lot to what we can do.”
If Gurley can come in a show his early days just slightly, the Falcons are in more than good hands.
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Gurley Continues to Rank High
The Falcons didn’t haven’t had anyone reliable in the backfield in the past two years but they will this year with Gurley.
While Gurley comes off of a less productive season in comparison to his previous years, he is still ranked fifth in total offense among all 32 NFL teams. His average hangs at 379.7 yards (294.6 passing and 85.1 rushing) and 23.8 points per game.
The former UGA star is joining an offense with veterans Matt Ryan and Julio Jones who are not washed up, yet. Gurley is going to open doors for Ryan in the pass and run game, making their offense more two dimensional.
Gurley moving in on the offense will give Ryan some options. Ryan can use Gurley as another passing target or take advantage of Gurley’s company in the backfield as a dominating rusher. Either way, the opposing defense will hurt.
Gurley is A Touchdown Machine, Despite His Knee
The concern over Todd Gurley’s knee is getting exhausting. I, and many Falcons fans can’t wait for game day so he can prove the haters wrong.
Gurley became a back-to-back star after leading the NFL in rushing touchdowns with 13 in 2017 and again in 2018 with 17.
His success had the Rams signed him to a four-year, $57.5 million extension—the biggest running back deal in NFL history at the time. After signing the deal, his performance started to decline. At the end of the 2019 season, Gurley had a career-low rushing for only 857 yards. With a bad knee, he still managed to score 14 touchdowns in which 12 were rushing TDs.
The Rams cut Gurley which saved the team $10.5 million in guaranteed salary for 2020. Gurley’s performance didn’t just decline due to his arthritis, the Rams had him on touch count and McVay was running a pass-attack offense. Gurley could have done more if LA allowed him.
Gurley Will be on touch count in Atlanta as well, but he’ll definitely be getting the ball in his hands a lot more.