Falcons running back, Todd Gurley will be placed on touch count this season. After watching him in training camp, offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter finally has an idea of how many touches per game he’ll get.
“I think a minimum of 15 touches and a high of ,” Koetter told ESPN in a phone interview Tuesday. “But you’ve got to realize we’ve got a lot of guys that need touches. You’re going to have 64 plays in a game on average on offense. Depending on where you’re at in the season and wear and tear, I think the low is 15 and maybe the high end 25.
“Some of that depends on score and where you’re at in the game. Are you ahead and running it? Are you getting in four-minute, and how are you running the ball that week? There’s a lot of factors in there. But again, the low end 15 and the high end 25.”
Falcons starters Alex Mack and Keanu Neal will also have their workloads managed.
Gurley’s Workload Was Managed in LA
The Los Angelos Rams released Gurley and it didn’t take long for Atlanta to swoop in and take a chance on him.
LA managed Gurley’s workload in 2019 when his arthritis in his left knee began to flare up.
He averaged 16.9 touches per game last season, which was off his career average of 20.3.
Even on touch count last season, Gurley averaged 3.8 yards per carry last season with career lows in carries with 223 and yards with 857. Gurley’s bad knee didn’t stop him from scoring 14 touchdowns in which 12 were rushing TDs.
Over the past five seasons in the NFL, Gurley has rushed for 58 total touchdowns and 12 receiving. Gurley is most effective in the red zone, where it matters most.
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Gurley Can Be a Productive Player
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 are also giving him “veterans days off” or 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 has had three days off from workouts so far.
Gurley Still Has Speed
The Pro Bowl running back is joining a loaded offense with receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, and tight end Hayden Hurst. Gurley is going to give QB1 Matt Ryan some options in the pass and run game, something that’s been missing for a while now.
Gurley is not only fitting in perfectly with the team, he’s showing off his quickness and juke moves in practice.
While Gurley is the Falcons primary starter at running back, the Falcons’ secondary competition is heating up. Backups Ito Smith, Brian Hill, and Quadree Ollison have all been standing out in camp. Although it’s only practice, it’s good news to know that Atlanta will be just fine if Gurley’s touches stay at the bare minimum.