By appointing new head coach Nathaniel Hackett, and trading for future Hall Of Fame quarterback Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos general manager George Paton has hit consecutive home runs. Ever since the duo walked through the doors at Dove Valley, expectations and standards have been raised to an entirely new level.
It’s found even grizzled veterans, like running back Melvin Gordon, selflessly buying into much bigger team objectives, way ahead of their own personal goals.
Gordon is proving his own critics wrong by accepting that he now forms part of a stable of running backs, when many thought the former Chargers ace would only offer up disapproving scorn. Gordon provided proof of his team-first attitude when he checked in for an NFL Network interview on Tuesday — and enthusiastically, the veteran runner talked up the multi-back set-up Denver plans to unleash in 2022, also starring Javonte Williams.
“We’re gonna go crazy, man,” Gordon declared on Good Morning Football. “We gotta go crazy. The young bull got so much talent, and we push each other every day in practice. We even got Mike Boone, who’s a good player, too. That’s going to help push us. I’m expecting the run game to be a lot better than it was last year, for sure.”
As predictably as the bad teammate headlines were quick to appear, Williams will push Gordon to the bench such narratives. Even when Gordon has made it clear he intends to fight for his share of touches, the negative spin came attached. But “Flash” believes the internal battle to run the rock has huge, long-term upside … for both players.
“That’s why me and [Williams] both played so well last year, and if you ask him, I think that’s the reason he felt he played so well,” Gordon opined. "In practice every day, if I go 30, he wanna do 30 or 35. … We try to outdo each other with everything, so that carries over. That carries over when you’re competing, and you’ve got a guy like me that’s still hungry, and you’ve got a young bull that wants to show.”
Splitting carries is the NFL norm these days, which is why it’s puzzling that some pundits assumed Gordon would disapprove of sharing the limelight. Gordon’s lowball contract — a heavily-incentivized one-year, $2.5 million deal —also goes a long way to suggest that his principal motivator is finally winning a championship.
Hackett’s arrival has blown away most of the cobwebs that former boss Vic Fangio had managed to entangle the Broncos organization underneath. Gordon feels liberated and has no problem admitting that Hackett’s high-energy style fits him perfectly.
“He brings a different energy to the practice facility, to everything, man,” Gordon explained. "The energy he brings, it carries to the people in the cafeteria, the janitor, the videos guys, the equipment guys. It carries through everybody, man. You are excited to go to work now."