Melvin Gordon had 35 runs of 20-plus yards in 2014, 15 more than any other player.
With the next phase of training camp set to start, Gordon knows what to expect and how to succeed.
“The game is definitely starting to slow down a little bit,” Gordon said last week. “But I keep hearing when the pads get on, it turns up a notch. When you get to the preseason game, it turns up a notch. Then when you get to the regular season, it gets even faster. I’m sure it’s going to get faster. But right now, I think I’m pretty good.
Six weeks remain until the Chargers’ opener on September 13 against the Detroit Lions. Despite getting out the blocks slower than expected to start training camp, Gordon’s showing plenty of momentum heading into his rookie season.
His success – especially early on – is just as vital to the team’s season goals as they are to the individual’s development. San Diego finished last season No. 30 in the league in rushing. Moving up two spots in the NFL Draft to get Gordon was a step forward in filling that missing production.
“You can just tell he processes things quickly,” offensive coordinator Frank Reich said two months back. “He sees things. I always think to be great, there has to be a subtleness to your game. You have to have these little subtle moves. (Tight end Antonio) Gates has that. Gates is running a route. You’re defending me. You’re outside of me, and I’ve got to beat you outside. It’s really hard to do when a guy has leverage on you (and) he’s already where you want to go. Gates has this way of setting a guy up and giving him a little subtle move; it’s like no one can figure it out. I see that in Melvin’s game correlating to the running back position. He’s got these little subtle moves I think you see in really good running backs. It’ll be interesting.”
“He showed today that he’s going to only get more and more comfortable as we go on in how they are going to block things up front and the style of running game we want to have here,” said Chargers coach Mike McCoy. “But he’s a very talented player and we’re fortunate to have him.”