Here we go again, I apologize in advance. The Chargers had the 32nd ranked offensive line last year. A disheartening 4-12 NFL season was the result. The Bolts also received a very disappointing rookie year by Melvin Gordon. That was not expected when the team selected him out of the University of Wisconsin.
I only cover our beloved San Diego Chargers. I don’t carry the ball or block anyone. I can only imagine how they all felt. It must have been frustrating. Then there’s the other young running back drafted by the Rams now in Los Angeles named Todd Gurley. In 2015 both running backs were drafted in the first round.
Todd Gurley, started the year on short-term injured reserve missing three games. Once healthy Gurley took the league by storm. In a down year for rushing, Gurley finished third with 1,106 yards. Melvin Gordon played most of 2015, until he was injured vs the Miami Dolphins in San Diego. At the time many of us believed, it possibly was the last game at Qualcomm Stadium. Melvin Gordon’s season ended with 641 yards on 184 carries with zero TD’s through 14 games.
Todd Gurley was the 10th overall pick, while Melvin Gordon was the 15th pick of the draft. I blame Fantasy Football for wild exaggerations in terms of skill sets or quick judgement. I’d go 40 time on everyone, except for the fact that only Gordon ran it. Both these young men can fly. Before anyone writes off Melvin, in the words of Aaron Rodgers R-E-L-A-X. In 2016 the word bust and other friendly adjectives get used far too quickly when describing talent that has underperformed.
The Chargers inked Matt Slauson recently signed from Chicago at center. Hopefully the center of the future, Max Tuerk was drafted as well. Joe Barksdale and Chris Hairston along with the return of oft-injured King Dunlap help solidify the line. Add in Orlando Franklin signed one year ago from Denver, and a slimmed down D.J. Fluker, and many holes should open up for Melvin Gordon in the coming Chargers season.
Often a homer, I’m also a realist. Success should not be measured by 1,000 yards. The Chargers have long been a pass first offense. Melvin Gordon had micro-fracture surgery five months ago. I imagine Gordon will be afforded time to recover properly. The Chargers would be wise to ease him back into the starting role full-time.
Fan favorite and veteran running back Danny Woodhead, Branden Oliver, Dreamius Smith, & rookie fullbacks Derek Watt & Chris Swain, round out the backfield. The preseason is often time for big-name players and veteran players to get reps or rest. Recently rehired Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt did wonders for Ryan Mathews in 2013, before being hired as Head coach in Tennessee in 2014. He could be big in the development of Gordon this year.
Ken Whisenhunt was fired early in 2015 after a slow start in Tennessee. Mike Mularky was the interim Head Coach and later became a Head Coach of the Tennessee Titans. Look for Philip Rivers, to go back to quick outs with many passes to running backs out of the backfield. Realistically it may take an entire season for Melvin Gordon to shine. At a ripe young age of 23, don’t let a Raider fan or Fantasy Football guy predetermine the outcome. Enjoy the ride, I think we will all be pleasantly surprised.