SAN DIEGO -- Chargers coach Anthony Lynn likes the direction Melvin Gordon is headed, but believes the Wisconsin product still has more juice he can bring to the team's running game.
“I’ve watched some tape on him,” Lynn said. “Man, he has some upside. He did a hell of a job from his rookie year to his sophomore year. And I told him we can take this to another level. We’re going to do some things running-wise that I can think can help him.”
However, Lynn obviously was not in the sharing mood when it came to providing specifics on how the Chargers would tweak the team’s schemes on offense to free up Gordon for more explosive gains.
“He’s not there yet,” Lynn said. “But that’s what is encouraging to me. When I look at the tape, I say, ‘Oh my goodness, we can help him get better here and here.’ And he’s already good. But there’s more yards [to be gained].”
One thing that Lynn brings to the table is his experience as a running back in the NFL, which should help in the ongoing development of Gordon. You can watch Lynn working with players while serving as the running backs coach of the New York Jets in this video.
“I have an insight at that position,” Lynn said. “If you haven’t played running back at this level, it doesn’t mean you have to have played at this level to be a good running backs coach. One of the best I know is Bobby Turner (the Atlanta Falcons running backs coach), and in the Super Bowl his backs played unbelievably well.
“But I do have an insight at the position that I can help the running backs with. And a lot of it is the little things. People ask me, 'How did you coach LaDainian Tomlinson to do what he did when he played for me (with the New York Jets)?' He was unbelievable, and a lot of that is god-given ability. But you can help make a runner’s vision better, get his runs reads better and get him more decisive.”
Asked for a running back comparison for Gordon, Lynn pointed to former Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George as a similar runner.
“When he wants to be physical, he can be physical,” Lynn said about Gordon. “He’s not quite the Chris Ivory. He’s built similar to Chris Ivory. Chris Ivory is more powerful, but Mel’s a powerful man, too. He’s young, and he’s still growing.
“He has quick enough feet to elude. He doesn’t have the speed of a Chris Johnson, but he’s an upright runner that can sidestep and elude. He has good vision, good instincts.”
Chargers new running backs coach Alfredo Roberts will have some work to do, learning a new offense. Roberts was the tight ends coach for the Indianapolis Colts for the last four seasons, so he brings more of an expertise of blocking from a tight end and fullback perspective to the running backs room.
However, Roberts is impressed with Gordon’s running ability. You can listen to Roberts talk about Gordon in this video.
“I think he will find himself with what we call the elite backs,” said Roberts. “He’s big. He’s strong and he’s physical. He has all of those characteristics that you would hope for in a guy. And he loves to play the game.”