Nathaniel Hackett changes his tune on Melvin Gordon
On Sunday, Melvin Gordon’s fumble was a key play in the Broncos loss to the Raiders. After the game, Nathaniel Hackett wasn’t in a forgiving mood, knowing that the scoop-and-score was a big reason why his team was 2-2 instead of 3-1.
“In the end, you can’t put the ball on the ground,” the head coach said after the game. “It’s that simple. We always say take care of the ball, it’s the most important thing.”
Hackett didn’t stop there, however. He continued down a path of zero tolerance for a player who only got the ball two more times after his costly second-quarter fumble.
“It’s not like he’s trying to do it; we understand that,” Hackett added. “We just have to be even better with our ball security across the board.”
On Monday, the Broncos head coach was singing a different tune. He was supportive of his embattled running back.
“He’s part of the team and we love the guy,” Hackett said. “He knows there was a mishap there.”
Once again, it didn’t end there, however. The head coach went on to praise Gordon.
“We’ve watched him do some good things,” Hackett said. “He’s run the ball really well. He’s going downhill, exploding through the hole.”
Yes and no. This season, Gordon has 139 yards on 37 carries, an average of 3.8 yards per rush. He’s also scored one touchdown, racking up the game-winning score against the 49ers.
The Broncos need him to be more like the running back he was a season ago. In 2021, Gordon rushed for 918 yards on 203 carries, an average of 4.5 yards per carry, with eight rushing touchdowns. That came on the heels of his first season in Denver, when the running back had 986 yards on 215 carries, an average of 4.6 yards, with nine scores on the ground.
With Javonte Williams lost for the season due to a knee injury, Hackett clearly had the realization that the best option for replacing his young star in the backfield is the veteran who’s been productive in a Broncos uniform before. As a result, his tune changed on Monday.