Falcons encouraged Todd Gurley finished the 2019 season

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Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter talked about the elephant in the room during a conference call Thursday morning: What is Todd Gurley‘s health status?

Gurley’s knee issues the past two seasons are well documented, which played into his release by the Rams.

But head coach Dan Quinn, while acknowledging the risk, said the Falcons were encouraged with Gurley finishing the season healthy.

“I guess the good news, though, is Todd did finish the season and so in some spaces I think it’s even more difficult for a player that finished on IR or had to do a surgery or a procedure in the offseason,” Quinn said on The Rich Eisen Show on Thursday. “That definitely helped where we knew Todd was able to finish the season there. So that’s a big piece of it, knowing he came through the season healthy and didn’t have to have any surgery in the offseason. Once that happened, then we knew, OK, we’ve got a chance to see where he’s at and how we can feature him in the offense.

“What is the right amount? That’ll have to be in training camp and in the season until we find our battle-rhythm with him of what it best looks like for the whole year. So, we’re looking forward to doing that.”

In the final six games last season, Gurley averaged 57 offensive snaps and 18 touches.

In 15 games, Gurley played 787 snaps, or 71 percent of the team’s total offensive plays. He saw 825 snaps in 14 games in 2018 (75 percent) and 788 snaps in 15 games in 2017 (76 percent).

The Falcons also have Brian Hill, Qadree Ollison and Ito Smith in the running backs room, so they don’t necessarily need Gurley to carry the full load.