Chargers to split carries between Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler

ByEric Williams via ESPN logo
Friday, October 4, 2019

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said he expects Melvin Gordon to make his season debut Sunday against the Denver Broncos.

However, after Gordon's first full week of practice, Lynn said the veteran is not ready to handle the full workload as a No. 1 running back.

"We have a plan for Melvin," Lynn said Friday. "I don't want to put him in there and play him too much. And I really don't have to. I like what Austin Ekeler has been doing in the backfield. ... Whenever [Gordon is] ready to go, he will be the No. 1 guy and get the bulk of the snaps. But obviously he's not there right now."

Gordon reported to the Chargers facility last week after holding out 64 days due to a contract impasse with the organization. He said he only had one practice in pads leading up to his the Chargers' victory on the road against the Miami Dolphins last week.

Even though the Chargers did not practice in pads this week, Gordon said he put pads on and got in extra blocking work with Lynn after practice, along with doing some work on his own.

Gordon said he feels like he's ready for his first game action. Lynn did not tell Gordon specifically what his role will be on game day.

"I don't really know, but I'm eager to find out," Gordon said. "I think it will be a lot of me and Austin flipping -- me going in, and then him going in -- flip-flopping. We'll be splitting the ball a lot.

"I know people think I'm going to get 20 carries, but I didn't really get 20 carries a game last year when I was in. I just kind of made the best of the small amount of carries that I got. We've got so many players, the ball goes around to everybody, so you're kind of licking your chops when you get your turn."

Gordon did not have a game in which he carried the ball 20 times last season.

Quarterback Philip Rivers said Gordon has picked things up quickly from a schematic standpoint.

"It's not new, that's the good thing," Rivers said. "It's the same offensive scheme he has been in his whole career. One thing he has done, at least that I can tell early on, is that he didn't mentally check out now, saying, 'Oh, I'll turn it on.' He has been trying to stay in it as much as he can without being here."

Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said Gordon has acclimated well with the rest of his teammates.

"He has really done a nice job with how he's interacted with the team, has just gone about his business," Whisenhunt said. "It's never even been an issue or even talked about.

"Guys were happy to see him. He's genuinely excited to be back. We all know what a good player he is. From that standpoint, it's awesome. It's great to have another player that we feel can help us."

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