Broncos Bench Starting Running Back

The Denver Broncos offense is searching for answers following a cringe-inducing start to the season, and it appears they don't believe a certain veteran running back is one of them. The team benched starter Melvin Gordon after only three carries in the team's 19-16 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, and head coach Nathaniel Hackett clarified during his post-game presser that it had nothing to do with injury. Gordon carried the ball three times for eight yards in the game, totalling nine snaps despite getting the start. Recent signing Latavius Murray earned the bulk of the touches for the remainder of the game, rushing for 66 yards on 15 carries.

Gordon has been one of the Broncos' many, many disappointments on offense through six games of the regular season. His 3.7 yards per rush are poor if not egregious, but his four fumbles have clearly earned the contempt of his coaching staff.

There was some thought that a season-ending knee injury for running back Javonte Williams could clear the way for Gordon to dominate touches, but it appears that won't be the case. Barring a significant addition before the November 1st trade deadline, the Broncos' backfield distribution will likely be split in an unpredictable and inscrutable fashion.
Gordon joined the Broncos as a free agent in the 2020 offseason. He initially entered the league as the 15th overall pick of the Los Angeles Chargers in the 2015 NFL Draft. He made a pair of Pro Bowls with the Bolts, totalling 4240 rushing yards and 1873 receiving yards across five seasons. 

Gordon has maintained similar effectiveness in 37 appearances with the Broncos, tallying 2574 yards from scrimmage. However, with the team transitioning to a new coaching staff this year, any goodwill he built up from previous seasons is likely all but faded.
Photo Credit: © Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports