Last season, Denver Broncos running backs Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon split the carries evenly, with each getting 203 totes.
Heading into the 2022 season under new coach Nathaniel Hackett, Gordon admitted the staff is leaning towards Williams getting a more prominent role in his second year.
“I think they have a plan on what they want heading in, but as far as the rotation goes, I really don’t know,” Gordon said Wednesday, per the team transcript. “I think they want ‘Vonte’ to be the guy, but we do rotate. He’ll take the first series and then the second series with the [No. 1 offense], I’ll take. Sometimes we switch, but you know kind of how it is. I don’t know how they will do the rotation. I have to go back and look at how they did things in Green Bay with the carries and things like that. My mom says just go out here and compete and go as hard as I can. I don’t know what the future holds other than that, but I just want to put my best foot forward so when I do so out there, they go, ‘OK, we need to get him out there more.’ I know I have the game; I know I can play and I still have the juice, but we’ll see.”
(That roar you heard was the sound of those who drafted Williams in Fantasy Football screaming for joy.)
Last season, Williams proved he could be a tackle-breaking maven, with power to rip through defenders without losing speed in space. Denver was prepared to let Gordon walk in free agency, but the 29-year-old back returned on a one-year deal worth just $2.5 million.
Hackett mostly let talent dictate the touches in three seasons as the Packers’ offensive coordinator, but he always utilized multiple backs.
In 2019, Aaron Jones was the clear No. 1 (236 carries), with Jamaal Williams getting 107 carries. In 2020, with Jones missing two games, Williams took on a bigger role, splitting the carries 119 to Jones’ 201. Last season, AJ Dillon led the Packers in carries, netting 187 in 17 games with 34 catches, while Jones carried 171 times in 15 games with 52 catches.
Our bet — given Gordon’s contract and Williams’ talent — is it’s closer to how Hackett handled carries in 2020 in Green Bay than last season, assuming both stay healthy.
Despite expecting to see fewer carries than his young, exciting counterpart, Gordon is preparing for any role and will do whatever it takes to win.
“Just be consistent,” Gordon said. “Be consistent. You never know how the future will play out with anything, but you just have to go out there and ball out. You have to make every opportunity count, whether it’s the same or less as last year. I know when I get in there, I have to make it count and that’s all that matters. I have to do what it takes — ‘Hack’ told me coming in, it’s about the Super Bowl. It’s about winning the Super Bowl and we are going to do whatever is best for the team. I’m bought into that 100 percent because I want the ring more than anything. I do feel like I can help this team, so when I get in, I have to show that.”