With Melvin Gordon’s holdout still going on, Austin Ekeler has taken the opportunity to show he can be a lead back.
Gordon is still looking for a new contract, and that is giving Ekeler a big opportunity to lead the Chargers’ backfield in the meantime. One of the question marks entering the season was if Ekeler would be able to handle lead back duties and a larger workload.
Ekeler has been a key part of the Chargers’ offense and has racked up 368 yards from scrimmage along with four touchdowns in just three games. He dispelled all doubts about his ability to handle a large workload with a stellar first two weeks but fell back down to Earth in the Week 3 loss against the Houston Texans.
However, it’s not all his fault. There were few Chargers not named Keenan Allen who stood out in an ugly loss, and the Chargers basically abandoned the run game in the second half.
Justin Jackson has also been successful with his limited touches. He has rushed for 142 yards in just 18 attempts, averaging an impressive 7.9 yards per carry. Many expected a more even split prior to the season, but the reality is that this has been Ekeler’s backfield. The split in touches has been exactly 70-30 in favor of number 30.
It was first reported by NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport that Gordon will report between Weeks 6-8. But Gordon returned to the team on Thursday, and he should be ready to play against the Denver Broncos in Week 5.
While no date has been set, this is something that’s being considered for RB Melvin Gordon, source confirmed. A potential early end to his holdout. https://t.co/uQlvyqefBq
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 25, 2019
That leads to speculation regarding the role he will have. Will he resume his lead back role once he’s back with the team? Or will he have a more even split with Ekeler, who has been earning more touches?