Falcons could limit Todd Gurley's workload in training camp

The Atlanta Falcons are considering limiting Todd Gurley’s workload during training camp as the running back acclimates to his new surroundings.

Per ESPN’s Vaughn McClure, Falcons coach Dan Quinn didn’t announce a plan for Gurley, but hinted that special precautions could be taken for the RB, along with others like safety Keanu Neal (Achilles tear) and veteran center Alex Mack. 

“Yeah, for sure, one size doesn’t fit all,” Quinn noted. “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.

“All three of the players that you had said would be on different [plans] but could certainly have some limitations here and there — not physically but more for just their overall longevity in where they’re at.”

The Falcons signed Gurley to a one-year $5.5 million contract this offseason. He passed a physical, but there remain questions about his ability to handle a full workload on his surgically repaired knee.

The Los Angeles Rams clearly didn’t view the running back the same the past year-plus as Sean McVay’s club curtailed Gurley’s snaps after the knee issue resurfaced. Ultimately, Gurley’s release from L.A. was more about the player he’d become than the money flushed down the toilet for the club.

Limiting a running back’s work during training camp isn’t abnormal and isn’t necessarily indicative of age or injury — the Las Vegas Raiders, for example, gave second-year back Josh Jacobs practice off Wednesday.

One other aspect of McClure’s report stands out, however. The veteran reporter noted that during the early phases of the Falcons’ workouts, Gurley “walked with a noticeable limp and wore a compression sock on his left leg, yet he showed speed and explosion during drills.”

The juxtaposition of Gurley walking with a limp but looking good during drills is, unfortunately, the reality with the running back at this point. He’ll show brief flashes but hasn’t been as consistently explosive as he was earlier in his career.

Atlanta has room in its backfield to highlight Gurley, but given his injury history, it’s likely he’ll share snaps with Ito Smith, Brian Hill and Qadree Ollison. With no preseason to test out the group, we’ll have to wait for Week 1 to see what Quinn’s full plan is for Gurley.

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