The Detroit Lions hosted running back Todd Gurley for a visit last week, and while a move doesn’t seem like it is immediate, the team is at the very least considering signing the veteran back to compete for the 2021 season.
Since news of the visit leaked, there’s been plenty in favor of the move and also many naysayers when it comes to the possible fit of Gurley in Detroit. Either way, it’s interesting to ponder the potential impacts of such a signing for the Lions and what it could mean for their 2021 season.
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In the interest of keeping things positive, the good seems to outweigh the bad in terms of a potential Gurley addtion. While fantasy football players might not be thrilled with such a potential move in Detroit, the team is forced to live in their reality, and in that world, they are at least considering a Gurley signing for the future.
Here’s a look at why that would be a very good idea.
Depth for Lions at Running Back is Key
While the team figures to have D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams in addition to a rookie in Jermar Jefferson that looks hungry for carries, everyone knows the physical nature of this position in the league can chew even the most deft and tough runners up and spit them out. Running backs are often fighting nagging injuries thanks to the beating that gets put on their bodies. Gurley himself is a great example of this. With this in mind, it might make sense for the Lions to have another veteran in the stable to not only take a pounding off the younger players, but perhaps be there in case they go down with injury to offer support. A multiple back system is becoming more and more common in the league, and it’s due in large part to durability and balance concerns.
The Lions’ New Offense Looks Largely Run-Centric
If the Lions aren’t going to prioritize another wideout addition this offseason as many think they must do, what better way to improve the offense than to double down on adding another dynamic back to the roster? Detroit’s goal seems to be clear on offense, and that’s ram the ball down the throat of the opposition first and pass second. While the team has a pair of good backs, there is little harm in adding another to help this goal out for the future. Giving Anthony Lynn another solid runner to grind out yards could be huge for the Lions and their hopes of controlling the clock, setting up play action and giving Jared Goff a solid pocket to survey the field and hit what wideouts he does have in stride.
Gurley Is a Perfect Influence for Swift
It might seem like a passing fact to note that Swift had Adrian Peterson at his disposal as a rookie, but in actuality, that was huge for Swift, who admitted he was able to soak a ton of valuable information up from Peterson in terms of preparation and how to be a pro. Similarly, Gurley would be cut from the same cloth as Peterson as a successful player who knows what it takes to have success. Having as many positive influences around Swift as possible can only help in the end, and giving him Peterson and Gurley in back to back years might only serve to boost his career in the best possible way for the long-term.
Gurley Would Inject Awesome Team Chemistry Into Lions
There would be no need to worry about Gurley fitting the mold in terms of a player who could come in and give the Lions just what they are looking for under Dan Campbell. Mental toughness, physicality and love of football have been some hallmarks the new boss has laid down for anyone who will play on the team now or in the future, and getting the locker room to buy in often means adding players who perfectly embody the traits. That’s just what Gurley would bring to the mix for the Lions given he’s been there and done that for a pair of teams in his career. There would be no questioning the fit at all with this potential signing. Also, Goff would be in Detroit, so it would be a slam dunk in terms of reuniting one of the most successful duos in the league a few years back.
It’s Clear Gurley Is Far From Finished
Given his fall from grace in Los Angeles and abrupt exit there (where else have we heard this before?), it’s easy to see how folks would write Gurley off as damaged goods. It’s true he’s had injury concerns lately, but it didn’t stop him from putting up 678 yards and 9 scores for the Atlanta Falcons in 2020. Those numbers came as the team was transitioning away from Gurley in terms of running back production as well, proving how successful he can still be. Gurley is 26, so it’s not as if he is in the complete twilight of his career like Peterson was in 2020. Potentially, the Lions could be the stop that gets him going once again on what has been a solid career at one of the toughest positions to play in the league. Detroit’s offensive mindset could be just what the football doctor ordered.