Melvin Gordon's Pre-Camp Message to Phillip Lindsay Hints at Coming Position Battle

Chad Jensen

Melvin Gordon is still rolling with the punches of being a newcomer on a team that for the first five years of his career served as one of his chief rivals. Gordons signed a two-year, $16 million deal with the Denver Broncos back in March and enters training camp as one of the team's prized free-agent pickups. 

The two-time Pro Bowler is still getting used to the fact that he's a Bronco. 

"It's crazy, man," Gordon told NFL Network's LaDainian Tomlinson earlier this week. "Just being with the Chargers for so many years, man, it's crazy just to hear that. But I'm rocking with it. Let's go." 

Gordon has been absent from the Broncos' unofficial offseason workouts that have been organized by second-year QB Drew Lock — and not just because of the pandemic. Gordon hasn't been paid yet by the Broncos, according to him. 

He got a $4M signing bonus but since Gordon has been unable to rendezvous with the Broncos' medical staff to get his physical done, the money is yet to hit his bank account. That will be remedied later this month when Gordon reports for training camp. 

But with camp quickly approaching, Gordon will be squaring off with Phillip Lindsay in what has to be the most anticipated roster battle of the summer. Lindsay, a back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher and Pro Bowler in his own right, is seeking to remain the top ball-carrier on the depth chart while Gordon will look to justify his newfound salary and continue to grow his NFL legend. 

Gordon is trying to maintain an optimistic and productive mindset with regard to his new teammate and remains adamant that he and Lindsay can forge one of the most dynamic RB tandems in the league.  

"I hope it's electric," Gordon told Tomlinson. "I hope it's electric, because it's crazy his numbers, what it is. I've been playing with Austin Ekeler. A phenomenal player. Their game is about the same. And I think Lindsay is a great, phenomenal back. I say he's a Pro Bowl back himself. First year, 1,000-yard rusher. I think we can be a great one-two punch. I'm excited to get with him. No matter what, you've got to be a sponge in this league. Ollie [ex-Chargers RB Branden Oliver] taught me that and you've just got to be a sponge. You can learn from every player so I'm excited to learn from him and take some things from him and I know he feels the same way." 

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Tomlinson, who is himself an ex-Charger and Hall of Fame running back, understands the harsh realities of the NFL. No matter how the Broncos try to posture it publicly, the truth is, there's only one starting tailback position on this team. 

How the reps get divvied up could be close to a 50-50 split when it's all said and done. But Tomlinson understands the core issue, the power that comes with owning the nominal starting job, and channeling his best Highlander impression, pointed out that there can be only one. 

"We're going to compete for that spot," Gordon told Tomlinson. "I know it's his territory, his ground. I've been playing—you've got to take the humble route but I'm a competitor at the end of the day. I'm going to compete and he is, too. So I'm just going to put my head down and work and see where I'm at. But you're right. There can only be—a No. 1 guy and a No. 2 guy. It is what it is. But I'm going to go work and get mine. That's just what it is." 

It's going to be fun to see how it shakes out. Gordon has his work cut out for him, undoubtedly. Because despite his high-priced contract, which the team will surely want to get a return on, this is Lindsay's home turf, his team, and his job. 

As Lindsay said last week, to him, it doesn't matter who the Broncos pay or bring into the RB room, "They've got to get through me and it's very hard to do that." 

Gordon has been training at The System 8 gym in Florida, trying to stay in shape. Meanwhile, Lindsay has been practicing with Lock and company in the unofficial workout sessions in Denver. Lindsay has focused on improving his hands, route running, and overall skill-set as a receiver. 

It's going to be fun to see how it plays out. The Broncos will kick off training camp on July 28. UC Health Training Center is going to be ground zero for an intense battle as Lindsay and Gordon cross swords for the right to be the Broncos' No. 1 running back. 

Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen and @MileHighHuddle.

Comments (12)
No. 1-11
Jefffrey55
Jefffrey55

High priced might be little unfair. Gordon and Lindsay will both be themselves, but no matter Lock is going to throw at least one and two thirds per set of downs. Just in offense added and the return of starters last year Denver is increased. If any one of Juedy Hamler Hamilton Cleveland Okwuegbunam hit Denver is increased more. There is alot of parts to this team. I can't see how this team isn't exciting.

toddx7
toddx7

The Gordon and Lindsay controversy will likely be settled by Shurmur. Gordon
will likely have more touches because of being the better pass catcher.

In terms of fantasy football Gordon is the highest rated player on the Broncos followed by Sutton. Lindsay is rated as a back up RB.

Denverkewl
Denverkewl

So how do you think they will compete on short yardage? Answer: they won't. Given the VAST disparity in their results, Lindsay will not see the field on those plays...this is the whole reason Gordon is here. He has to go through Lindsay? Really? Lindsay has to make short yardage plays first. His stats will improve coz he won't be on the field to mess up. Lindsay will be great between the 20s and I bet his pass catching improves but pass pro not so much. He's no Jano. So, there won't be much to compete for as they will be used in different ways and play calls. So how about we see the best of both?

RBA
RBA

Sounds like two adults talking here. So refreshing in a league with so many rash brats who think only of themselves. Am excited to watch the competition and hope they both win.

CUBuffinTX
CUBuffinTX

Mel going Highlander on us

broncofan55555
broncofan55555

The Broncos always wanted a one/two punch. Royce Freeman was supposed to be the complement to Lindsay and vice versa. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. So, Gordon is his replacement. Gordon isn't a threat to Lindsay. They will split carries, but Freeman is the dude who is on the hot seat. Lindsay was never intended to be the one and only guy. He was always supposed to be a piece of a two-headed monster that would instill fear in opposing teams. He became the one man band which is not good for this team, and it isn't good for Lindsay. His body is not built to be a bell cow and do all the things expected of a back. I understand he wants to get paid, but he can be thankful as Bronco fans should be that Elway brought Gordon to the table.

Luke  Patterson
Luke Patterson

Man oh man the RB drama seems to intensify for the Broncos each week. At this rate the RB's are more dramatic than the WR's. I've been on record saying that the Broncos overpaid for Melvin Gordon. However, Phillip Lindsay has to show the NFL that he can operate outside of his comfort zone in a spread-offense.

Steve Atwater 27
Steve Atwater 27

I feel so fortunate as a fan to have both these guys in the backfield...it's going to be awesome.

Thomas Hall
Thomas Hall

Love the competitive spirit. Both backs are going to get plenty of touches and having a good 1-2 punch in the backfield will be good for the team

KeithCummings
KeithCummings

Battle stations indeed. Best policy is they don't wear each other out before week one however!!

CarlDumler
CarlDumler

It is nice that at least at this point we haven't seen Lindsay even hint at the idea of wanting a trade. We have seen lately in the NFL when some players feel very slighted they demand that trade. Heck the 49ers are dealing with that at the RB position right now. These two competing for reps only helps the offense for sure. I do wonder a bit how much Lindsay working with Lock over the past month gives him a leg up on some things over Gordon.


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