We’re only two games into the 2016 NFL season, but there’s already a noticeable difference between Melvin Gordon Last Year and Melvin Gordon This Year.
Melvin Gordon Last Year rushed for 641 yards, averaged just 3.5 yards per carry and didn’t score a single touchdown all season. Melvin Gordon This Year, however, is on pace for 1,272 yards, is averaging 4.2 yards per carry and has already hit pay-dirt three times.
That’s quite the difference.
“I feel a lot different, man,” Gordon said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “It’s just confidence. I think that’s the biggest thing. (I’m) just way more confident out there.”
The Chargers started 25 different offensive linemen during Gordon’s rookie season, but that isn’t why he struggled.
“I just didn’t play well,” he said. “I just wasn’t confident in general. I had a good grasp on the playbook but not how I do now to where I can just go out there and play really without thinking. All of that plays a factor. I don’t want to blame injuries for my confidence. I just didn’t feel like I played how I wanted to play week in and week out. It just wasn’t rolling how I wanted it to.”
Now it is.
The Chargers, though, have had an up-and-down couple of weeks. They led the Chiefs 27-10 in their season-opener but ultimately lost 33-27 in overtime. They also lost Keenan Allen to a torn ACL.
“It was tough,” Gordon said. “Obviously Keenan’s play speaks for itself. He’s just a phenomenal player, especially for us. He was a big part in what we do as an offense. So losing him was tough and then losing the game as well, just being up by so much and then playing hard and playing great for three quarters – and then the fourth, just kind of easing off the brakes, easing off the gas a little bit, that hurt us. That hurt us. It wasn’t a good feeling, but when adversity strikes, you have to overcome it.”
Adversity struck again on Sunday, when the Chargers lost another skill-position player to a torn ACL. This time, it was Danny Woodhead.
Gordon stepped in and carried 24 times for 102 yards and a touchdown.
“Our coach trains us and we all practice as if we’re starters,” Gordon said. “We all kind of know each other’s position in case something like that happens, we’ll be ready. It’s tough losing Danny, one of the leaders on our team. But you got to train hard and practice just in case that happens and you’ll be ready to go and you aren’t hesitant, you aren’t thinking twice about what you need to do – you know what to do. You just go out there and make plays. We all got to step up.”
San Diego (1-1) hosts Indianapolis (0-2) this Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET.