Todd Gurley, Alex Mack Sit Out Falcons First Full Pads Practice

Alex Mack

Getty Alex Mack #51 of the Atlanta Falcons.

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn announced a week ago that he plans to limit workloads for running back Todd Gurley, safety Keanu Neal, and center Alex Mack.

Nobody expected it to happen so quickly. Today, during the Falcons first practice in full pads, both Gurley and Mack got a rest day.

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All for Different Reasons

These three starters will each be on their own load management programs for all different reasons of course. This means they won’t all have the same rest days or one will get more rest days than the other.

Todd Gurley might be getting the most days off considering he has arthritis in his knee after tearing his ACL in 2014. His knee reportedly swells up after every workout. Neal is coming off a season-ending Achilles tear from last year, and center Mack, well, he’s a 34-year-old veteran.

“One size doesn’t fit all, Quinn told ESPN’s, Vaughn McClure. “Sometimes you’re monitoring reps. ‘OK, I’m going to put him from a certain amount down to a lower amount.’ Sometimes it might be a day off where it’s not back to back to back. So, for sure, we’ve gone through that process with a number of the players as we get into the training camp portion. There will be some players that will have limited reps or an off day occasionally just to make sure, man, just keep hitting the markers of where we’re at.”

Todd Gurley Will Be on Touch Count

Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter already has a plan to manage Gurley’s workload during the season as well. Gurley will be placed on touch count.

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.

Even on touch count last season, Gurley had rushed for 857 yards. And with his bad knee, he still managed to score 14 touchdowns in which 12 were rushing TDs.

Mack Is Still Ready to Attack

Mack was drafted as a first-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2009. His goal was to play at least 10 seasons. So far, he’s played 11 and now he’ll enter his 12th season as a Falcon.

“Going into Year 12, I feel pretty good and excited for it, ready to take it on,” Mack told ESPN. “I’ll play the year out, see how I feel — how my body works and how much I’m enjoying it — then make the decision at the end of the year if I want to keep going or what. The future is unknown, and that’s the way I’m looking at it. Every year is one year at a time: keep going, prepare, and play, and do everything as best as I can. Then I’ll see where I’m at.”

The Falcons planned ahead and drafted Matt Hennessey this year who will be Mack’s replacement eventually, but we hope the veteran continues to stick around even longer.

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