Todd Gurley going to be part of “the mix” for Falcons, not a workhorse

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Thomas Dimitroff repeated what he said two days ago: He is very comfortable with Todd Gurley‘s knee and unconcerned about the running back passing a physical.

“I feel good about that,” the Falcons General Manager said in video posted by the team. “If and when, and I’m going to say when he passes our physical, I think he’s going to do a very good job contributing to this offense, and again thinking about all the skills that he brings to the table for us, we’re very encouraged by what we think he can add to us.”

But it seems unlikely Gurley will ever see more than 300 touches in a season again.

From 2016-18, Gurley averaged 326 touches each season. He developed a knee issue late in the 2018 season and had 254 touches in 15 games last season, including 223 carries.

“Todd Gurley really takes care of his body well, and he’ll continue to work on it,” Dimitroff said. “We’ll continue to be very mindful about what we are dealing with, and we feel very comfortable with it. Of course, this is a tough game, and it’s a warrior game. We know that. I’m not spinning off on that. But he’s a hard-charging runner, and he’s an excellent football player, and we’re counting on him to be an excellent football player for us.”

The Falcons split the load at the position last season. Devonta Freeman, whom the Falcons released, played 56.3 percent of the snaps and had 243 touches; Brian Hill played 20.1 percent of the snaps and had 88 touches; Ito Smith played 12.8 percent of the snaps and had 33 touches; Qadree Ollison had 4.8 percent of the snaps and had 23 touches; and Kenjon Barner played 5.8 percent of the snaps and saw 10 touches.

Dimitroff did not rule out drafting a running back with speed.

No matter, it sounds as if the workload will remain similar this season, with Gurley stepping into Freeman’s starting job at the top of the rotation.

“I think Todd is explosive,’ Dimitroff said. “I think Todd can still tote the rock very, very well, and he’s going to be a big-time playmaker, I believe. He has the ability to do that. I think we have a group of running backs that can contribute. I am a big believer that it’s not just about one person running all the runs, of course. We’re a big mix-up team. We think that’s a very important part of making sure we rotate our guys through there. They all come to the table with different positives and different traits, of course. I’m a big believer in making sure that you have the mix.”

Gurley’s workhorse days likely are done, but he still can contribute in a big way for the Falcons as part of the “the mix.”