If Julio Jones is right about Todd Gurley, the Atlanta Falcons might be scary good offensively
Though their SEC careers never overlapped, the former Alabama Crimson Tide wideout has nothing but praise and respect for the former Georgia Bulldogs bell-cow back. Years laters with a handful of Pro Bowls, All-Pro teams and gut-wrenching Super Bowl losses, Jones and Gurley are teammates playing on the same offense with a former NFL MVP quarterback in Matt Ryan.
When Jones met with the media on Thursday, the future Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver was asked about his new Falcons teammate. The usually reserved and well-calculated Jones offered this to the Atlanta sports media, “He’s going to show you what Todd Gurley is about.” The big question for the Falcons and the NFL is what will Gurley be about this year in Atlanta?
If the Atlanta Falcons get vintage Todd Gurley, the Dirty Birds can soar.
After an atrocious 1-7 start to the 2019 campaign, there was a massive reorganization to the entire coaching staff. Head coach Dan Quinn ceded defensive play-calling duties to linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich on first and second down and to wide receivers coach turned defensive backs coach Raheem Morris on third down. Atlanta promptly went 6-2 in the second half to finish 7-9.
While the defense has been more miss than hit, Atlanta has had one of the better passing offenses for the last decade-plus with Ryan at quarterback and Jones in the receiving corps. Offensively, it is when the Dirty Birds can pound the rock with conviction they can be a Super Bowl-caliber team. And guess what? It’s an election year, which bodes well for the Falcons.
In the last four presidential elections, the Falcons have made the NFC playoffs every season. The three times they’ve won the NFC South, they’ve made it to the NFC Championship game (2004, 2012, 2016). In Ryan’s rookie year out of Boston College in 2008, the Dirty Birds ended a four-year playoff drought by getting in as a Wild Card team. Could Gurley be a piece to help get them back in?
If Gurley can be anything close to what he was with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams or even back to his days as a Dawg, Atlanta will have the balance offensively to win double-digit games and reach the postseason. However, the biggest issues for the Falcons are depth in the secondary and continuity along the offensive line. If they’re bad at both, they’ll have no shot at being competitive.
Jones might be drinking the Gurley Kool-Aid, but then again, why wouldn’t he? Gurley is awesome!