The signing of Todd Gurley has not worked out for the Atlanta Falcons.
There was a lot of hope from Atlanta Falcons fans that Todd Gurley would return to the MVP form he had just a couple of years ago – and early in the season, it looked like it would.
Through the first nine Atlanta Falcons games, Gurley had nine touchdowns almost 600 yards rushing. Since the Falcons returned from their bye week, the former UGA running back has had 23 carries for a whopping 60 yards and no touchdowns.
No, Gurley does not get all the blame here.
The Atlanta Falcons terrible offensive line get part of the credit as does offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter who hasn’t given Gurley more than eight carries over the last four games.
Fans can talk about how this is a passing league and that running backs don’t matter much, but the top of the NFL leading rushing board begs to differ. 12 of the top 20 rushing backs in terms of yards are from teams currently in or within a game of the playoffs.
A good rushing back adds another element to an offense that cannot be found from any other position.
Since the Super Bowl run in 1998, the Atlanta Falcons have made the playoffs seven times when having a 1,000 yard running back. The only years that the Falcons did not make playoffs when having a 1,000-yard rusher – 2000, 2005, 2006, and 2015.
The only year the Falcons made the playoffs since 1998 when they had a running back run for less than 900 yards was in 2019 when Devonta Freeman had 865 yards. So regardless of who is calling plays or catching passes, the Falcons have to have a great run game to be successful.
When you look at the current stable of running backs that get playing time, Gurley, Ito Smith, and Brian Hill, one has to wonder why Qadree Ollison isn’t getting any run. While interim head coach Raheem Morris says that it’s because he struggles in pass protection, we all know that isn’t true given how bad the Falcons have been in that area for a long time.
Since the Atlanta Falcons aren’t making the playoffs anytime soon and more than likely will not draft a running back in the first round, let’s take a look at three fictional running backs that would be better than the current depth chart at that position. (Since the Falcons haven’t taken this season seriously, why should we?)