They call Melvin Gordon “flash” for obvious reasons — the running back shares a surname with the comic strip character. But last December, Gordon resembled the moniker, giving the Chargers a one-month glimpse of his super hero skills when completely healthy.
Gordon, who battled knee soreness most of last season, got better as the year went along, saving his best football for the final five games when the stakes were the highest.
“Some guys go through those first eight weeks of the season, guys that are excited to play, excited to put on the uniform, but then it gets old,” Gordon said Tuesday. “Then guys are trying to stay healthy and then guys that were coming in trying to make those tackles aren’t really trying to make those tackles anymore. To me, my mindset is, I’m going to make you pay.
“You think it’s going to be a breeze your last eight weeks and I’m going to turn it up.”
While the Chargers love the way Gordon finished 2017 — in December he averaged more than 80 rushing yards a game and more than 40 receiving — they’d like to see those flashes burn longer and brighter.
There’s optimism that Gordon, who is moving well in training camp, can get off to a better start in 2018 for a few reasons: 1. He’s feeling healthy after scaling back his offseason training, including skipping some of the Chargers’ voluntary offseason work; 2. Free agent center Mike Pouncey was signed to beef up the run blocking.
“I feel good,” Gordon said. “I haven’t been feeling like this in a while now — for about a couple years — and I’ve just been having to push through it. I think that little time I took off kind of helped me out a lot.”
While practice periods for rushing can be tilted toward the defense in training camp, Gordon still has made his share of big plays.
“I just see Melvin running around healthy — and when a guy is running around healthy, you know he’s in a different mindset,” coach Anthony Lynn said. “He’s having fun. He’s enjoying the game.”