NFL

NFL AM: Gordon To Share Carries In Chargers Backfield

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Philip Rivers expects Chargers to use a “committee crew,” at tailback:

It had been a couple of years since anyone invested a first-round draft pick on a running back in the NFL Draft until the St. Louis Rams used the 10th – overall selection in this past draft on Todd Gurley, and the San Diego Chargers used the 15th – overall pick on Melvin Gordon.

While Gordon is expected to see the bulk of the carries in San Diego, a less than stellar preseason has left the door open for Danny Woodhead and Branden Oliver.

The days of the “feature back” are more or less behind us, and working Gordon in slowly with Woodhead and Oliver can only be good for the rookie.  Gordon will get his opportunities, and can grow into a more prevalent role as he grows more comfortable at the NFL level.

If San Diego is going to make a playoff run, they would certainly benefit from having a fresher Gordon, something giving him a more limited role early in the season may provide.

Woodhead and Oliver provide different skill sets and are a talented pair of backs themselves. The drafting of Gordon had a lot more to do with his skill set than it did the lack of talent already on the San Diego roster, so it’s not as if allowing him to grow will hurt the team’s productivity.

Gordon might be a great back one day, but right now he can use all the help he can get after averaging less than three yards per carry this preseason.

Philip Rivers knows that Gordon will be another weapon in the veteran quarterback’s pocket, but he knows the rookie can’t do it all himself either.

“It’s not going to be all Melvin,” Rivers said.

“As Coach has always said — I’m not saying anything out of the blue — it’s a running back by committee crew,” Rivers said. “It’s going to be a team effort in that bunch. We’re going to need all of them to carry the load in the run game and to catch the ball out of the backfield.”

Even the young back himself understands that while he may be very confident in his abilities, the running back position doesn’t end with him.

“When I go out, when Danny goes in, when (Branden) goes in and Donald, the expectations are the same,” said Gordon. “We are all going to run hard. We are all going to play physical. There is no difference. That helps us out.”

Robert Griffin, III and the Washington Redksins’ Excellent Adventure:

The Farrelly Brothers are responsible for comedic classics like, There’s Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber, and Kingpin, but not even they could have written the script for the mess of a story like the one playing out between Robert Griffin, III and the Washington Redskins.

Griffin was cleared to play in the Redskins preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, until he wasn’t. Just as Griffin was said to be the Redksins starting quarterback, until he wasn’t.

The situation in Washington could not be stranger, and it’s difficult to decipher who is really to blame in this bizarre situation.

This much is certain. Griffin has now had trouble finding a way to see eye to eye with two coaches. The second coach, Jay Gruden was brought in specifically because of his work as offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals, and a belief that he could bond with Griffin and help him get back on path.

Now, both Gruden, who had success in Cincinnati with Andy Dalton, and former Redksins coach Mike Shanahan, who had a little success with a guy named John Elway in Denver, have gotten to the point where they just didn’t feel like they could win with Griffin, III under center.

What happens now?

Griffin is clearly too talented to just cut, and there’s got to be someone in the NFL who believes they can put humpty dumpty back together again and turn Griffin back into the quarterback who set the world on fire, and had some calling him the best quarterback in football during his rookie season.

The problem is, this is the time of year that teams are trying to put the finishing touches on their rosters, not trying to start over at quarterback.

But, can they keep him around?

Whether it’s Griffin having to clarify whether or not he liked an Instagram post supporting him and criticizing the team, the way this whole concussion thing was handled or Griffin getting a standing ovation at a team function, this whole thing has reached high school levels of weird and awkward.

The comedy of absurd twists and turns that is the Washington Redskins is almost like Daniel Snyder’s imperfect little baby. Snyder’s treatment of Griffin certainly helped birth the monster that is the current situation, and now he’s paying the price.

Nobody could have written this script, but somebody has to write the ending, because this is playing out like the movie that just won’t end no matter how badly you want it to.

LeSean McCoy may not be ready for Week 1:

The Buffalo Bills release of veteran running back Fred Jackson seems even more questionable now, because it sounds as if LeSean McCoy’s hamstring issue may actually cause the new Bills tailback to miss the team’s Week 1 game against the Indianapolis Colts.

ESPN is reporting a team source told Josina Anderson that McCoy might not be fully ready to play when the team opens the season on September 13th.

“It’s way too early to say whether [McCoy] will play or not. He is doing a little bit more every day. But hell yes, I’m concerned about that,” the source said. “I can’t say for sure he’s going to be with us Week 1. I can’t say that at all. It will take everything we got just to get him ready for game day, and then [when] we get to game day, [there’s] no way he can be in great football shape. So I think he will be on a pitch count, I think at the very best.

“I mean if he came around and just started feeling really, really good, heaven knows. But [we] have to look at all the contingency plans: putting him on a pitch count possibly, or, he’s not out there at all and we got to go without him and get the other guys ready. You just don’t know.”

The decision to release Jackson came as a surprise, and with the team having McCoy, Bryce Brown, Karlos Williams and Boobie Dixon all battling some kind of injury concerns, Bills fans may be questioning that choice for much of the season.


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.