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DENVER, COLORADO - NOVEMBER 22: Melvin Gordon #25 of the Denver Broncos carries the ball for a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins, to take a 20-10, during the third quarter at Empower Field At Mile High on November 22, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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Melvin Gordon turns the page and is looking forward to a big season

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Melvin Gordon wasn’t a popular signing by the Broncos. When the team inked him to a two-year, $16-million deal during the 2020 offseason, it went over like a lead balloon in Denver.

Initially, the negativity stemmed from the fact that the Broncos were giving an outsider a big contract, rather than taking care of their own running back, Phillip Lindsay. Then, the issue was compounded when Gordon struggled early in the season, particularly with some costly fumbles, and stumbled off the field, getting cited for a DUI.

It made what was always going to be a tough transition, joining a new team in the height of a pandemic, a really difficult one. As a result, Gordon’s first season in Denver was clunky.

This year, however, looks like it could be totally different. The veteran running back has a whole new attitude.

“Right now, my mindset has shifted more towards getting to the playoffs, rather than what everybody else thought about me,” Gordon said on Thursday when addressing the media after practice.

It was a comment made at the end of a revealing 12 minutes. In that time, Gordon admitted that he got caught up in the competition with Lindsay last season, worried about the negative reaction toward him coming in to compete with the hometown hero.

“It was in my head a little bit,” Gordon said. “But I got over it. I kind of dealt with what it was.”

That meant embracing the challenge. It involved trying to make the most of every opportunity.

Now, that’s a mindset the veteran is trying to share with others on the roster. Namely, he passes that advice along every day to Jerry Jeudy.

“I line up next to Jeudy every day. And I always tell my brothers, ‘Let’s set ourselves apart from everybody else. Make a splash.'”

That’s certainly something Gordon has been doing. Through the first two days of training camp, he’s looked great as the team’s No. 1 running back. He’s doing his part in trying to turn around an offense that has been stuck in neutral for multiple years.

“We’ve got to go out there and we’ve got to get it done,” Gordon said. “It’s about making plays. We can’t come up short like we did last year. Last year wasn’t good enough – not for us, not for me, not for anybody in this organization. So we’ve got to step it up a notch. And we will. We’re gonna get it done. We’re gonna push each other this whole camp. We’ve got a legit camp. We can really grind and build some identity around here. We could show everybody who we are.”

And what are they? Well, Gordon thinks the Broncos are a playoff team.

“If we can stay healthy, the sky’s the limit,” he offered. “I was talking to Von (Miller) and he was like, ‘Man, we got dogs at every position.’ You check the roster, we’ve got a star guy at every every spot, so we could do it. It’s all about putting it together, though; that’s what it comes down to.”

Part of that process is finding a better pass-run mix on offense.

“We want to be able to run the ball, but we want to do both,” Gordon said. “Great teams can do both, especially late in the year. We want to be balanced. But if a game comes down to it, we want to be the ones everyone can count on.”

With the game on the line, the veteran wants the ball in his hands.

“I’m gonna do what I need to do to help this team win,” Gordon added. “That’s why I’m here.”

If that happens, the transformation of his image in Denver will be a rapid one. Winning always cures all.