Melvin Gordon appeared destined for the doghouse following Sunday's fumble that the Las Vegas Raiders turned into a pivotal touchdown in the Denver Broncos' loss. But Javonte Williams' season-ending knee injury thrust Gordon back into a potentially significant role.
Gordon fumbled on his first carry in the second quarter and received only two totes the rest of the game after Williams went down early in the third quarter.
On Monday, following confirmation of Williams' devastating knee injury, coach Nathaniel Hackett said the team still has confidence that Gordon can be a playmaker in the Broncos' offense.
"Melvin is a true pro," Hackett said, via the official transcript. "This is a guy that's been doing this for a long time. He's harder on himself than anybody. He's part of our team and we love the guy. He knows there was a mishap right there. It's a great opportunity for him to get back out in the field and prove himself. We're excited to be part of it and put him in great positions to be able to make plays. We'll watch him do some good things. We had our first touchdown, two weeks ago. I thought he ran real hard. He's running the ball, really well. He's going downhill, he's exploding through the hole and we want to see that continue. Like I said, he's a true pro and I expect for him to step up and have a great game."
Fumbles have been a big issue for Gordon, who has four in 2022, which is the most among non-QBs.
After Williams' injury, Mike Boone took most of the snaps in that game against Vegas. Denver then added veteran Latavius Murray off the Saints' practice squad to bolster the backfield. Murray had 11 carries for 58 yards and a touchdown for New Orleans Sunday against Minnesota.
The question for Denver is whether they'll saddle up Gordon moving forward or become a full-on committee.
"We are going to have to disperse it between the guys that will have out there," Hackett said. "Whoever is out there is going to have to do the best job they can. We have some good backs, and we want to be sure that we showcase them just like we were with him. And if they're part of that progression and they get an opportunity, we want to see them be great."
If Gordon's fumble issues continue, the trust in the RB could run out quickly, even without Williams there to pick up the load.