Melvin Gordon has four rushes of 20 or more yards this year, tied for fourth-most among NFL running backs. Those gains of 20, 23 26 and 27 yards — specifically, the ability he’s shown on each of them — is why the Chargers drafted the former Wisconsin running back in the first round. Still, the rookie is working to become the impact player he envisions.
Those long runs went for a combined 96 yards, or 36.5 percent of his season total.
He has averaged 2.6 yards on his other 67 carries. Thirty-six of his 70 runs have resulted in a gain of 2 yards or fewer, including 10 for a loss.
Certainly, there are cuts Gordon would like back, but those numbers demand context to capture some extenuating circumstances that surround him. There have been instances when the 22-year-old has achieved a first down on a short down-and-instance, such as when he recorded 1-yard and 3-yard gain on two second-and-1 situations against the Vikings. Those plays won’t help the rushing average but can be constituted as successful.
Gordon has a penchant for making defenders miss.
He also is transitioning from a system at Wisconsin that saw him run power football 24.5 times per game in 2014 behind an offensive line full of road graders, the story said. In San Diego, there naturally is more balance; such is the NFL and game flow this season with the Chargers (2-3) often trailing. He primarily runs out of the shotgun and occasionally the pistol formation, which they view as an evolution to the traditional “quarterback behind center” alignment. But perhaps the biggest thing, the story pointed out, is the struggles of the offensive line and even the injuries as players bounce in and out and from position to position. Gordon is coming off one of his better games and consistently gets about 15 carries a game. However last week, he was also very good in the passing game which could be good news for his owners, but bad news for Danny Woodhead owners.