BRONCOS

Hackett’s answer about Gordon sums up what’s wrong with the HC

Oct 18, 2022, 4:01 PM
Melvin Gordon...
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Another week, another drama with Melvin Gordon. This time around, the running back is pouting about his playing time in the Broncos loss to the Chargers on “Monday Night Football.”

During the second half, Gordon was largely a spectator, standing on the sidelines while Latavius Murray and Mike Boone rotated in the backfield. That didn’t go over well with the eight-year veteran.

Multiple times during the game, television cameras caught a glimpse of Gordon unhappy on the sidelines. Once, he was even miffed because Murray got a first down.

Then after the game, things got worse. In an interview with Bridget Condon in the locker room, Gordon told the NFL Network reporter that he wasn’t happy with his workload.

So in one of the most-predictable situations in the NFL this season, the Broncos have a problem on their hands. They have a disgruntled running back. And it’s going to be up to Nathaniel Hackett to deal with the situation.

On Tuesday, the head coach explained how he planned to handle things. Let’s just say it didn’t go well.

“Latavius was doing a fine job, so he had the opportunity to go another series,” Hackett offered as his initial explanation for why Gordon didn’t see the field in the second half. “Then, we just didn’t have a lot of plays.”

That’s a bunch of balderdash. In the second half and overtime, the Broncos ran 32 plays. That’s not why Gordon wasn’t on the field.

“We need all those guys and we want all those guys,” the head coach continued. “So we need to be sure they’re all out of the field.”

Why? Why does Melvin Gordon deserve to be on the field?

He’s had a poor season thus far, rushing for 201 yards on 55 carries, which is just 3.7 yards per carry. He’s also fumbled four times, a problem that has been well-documented.

On Monday night, he had three carries for eight yards. Conversely, Murray had 66 yards on 15 carries; the newly acquired back seemed to add a spark to a running attack that stalled all season.

It seems pretty clear that the Broncos should play the hot hand. That was Murray. And they should sit the cold hand. Clearly, that’s Gordon.

Why is that so hard to say? Hackett makes it sound like he’s willing to have that talk.

“We’re going to have a conversation,” the head coach said about himself and Gordon. “We have a very good relationship.”

What will that talk entail?

“We want to be sure that we’re crystal clear on everything,” Hackett added. “That he knows where I stand.”

The coach said he welcomes the opportunity.

“I’ve always liked those awkward conversations,” Hackett said. :I always want to be upfront and honest with everybody.”

Then, he went ahead and fibbed.

“Melvin didn’t do anything wrong; he didn’t,” the head coach said. “We just didn’t have a lot of play.”

First of all, Gordon did do something wrong. He did plenty of things wrong. He hasn’t produced well in the rushing game and he’s fumbled the ball.

Secondly, the Broncos had plenty of plays. That’s not why Gordon didn’t get in the game in the second half.

Which leads to the big question: Is Hackett going to try to fool his player in the same way he tried to pull one over on the fan base?

That would be a mistake. For one thing, it would insult Gordon’s intelligence; he knows there were plenty of opportunities for him to get in the game on Monday night. In addition, it’s counterproductive, as it won’t help the player improve.

Just be honest, coach. Quit trying to be the nice guy to everyone. Stop worrying about being mean.

Melvin Gordon hasn’t played very well. Latavius Murray gave us a much-needed spark. It was an obvious choice on Monday night. It’ll be an obvious choice the next time around.

If Hackett can say that, then the Broncos have a problem. He’s letting the tail wag the dog.

He’s the head coach. He’s in charge. Sometimes, that means having to deliver bad news.

Don’t sugarcoat it. Don’t fib. Don’t dance around it.

The Broncos need someone to give them an honest assessment. That’d be best for all involved, Coach Hackett.

***

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