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Broncos Notebook: As Melvin Gordon III aims to prove he deserves major role, his focus is on winning a Super Bowl

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — While the Broncos' plan at running back has yet to be revealed, Melvin Gordon III is certain of at least one aspect of the Denver's run game.

As the two-time Pro Bowler begins his third season in Denver, he knows he can't waste any opportunity.

"To be honest, I think they kind of have a plan of what they want," Gordon said Wednesday. "As far as the rotation goes, I really don't know. I think they want 'Vonte [Javonte Williams] probably to be the guy. He'll take the first series, and then the second series with the [starters], I'll take [it]. Sometimes we switch, but you kind of know what [the rotation] is if you've been out here. But I don't know how they're going to do the rotation.

"… My mindset is just kind of, 'Go out here and just compete, go as hard as I can.' I kind of don't know what the future holds as far as with that, but I just kind of want to put my best foot forward so when I do go out there, they'll be like, 'OK, we need to get him out here more.' I know I've got the game. I know I can play. I know I've still got the juice, man. We'll see. I really don't know. I really don't know."

Gordon said he planned to look at how the Packers split up carries in 2021 — and he'd find a rushing attack that was fairly balanced. Though Aaron Jones started 15 games, he actually ended up with 16 fewer carries and four fewer yards than AJ Dillon. Jones finished the year with 171 carries for 799 yards and four touchdowns, while Dillon posted 187 carries for 803 yards and five touchdowns.

In Denver last year, Gordon and Williams each had 203 carries and finished within 15 yards of each other as they were the only duo to feature two players with over 900 rushing yards.

As the season has approached, the Broncos have maintained a desire to use both backs.

"I get more and more excited every time we step on the field with those guys, whether it's one guy one the field or both guys on the field," Offensive Coordinator Justin Outten said in early August. "It's going to be a pitch count throughout the season and making sure we are very smart with those guys. With Mike Boone, he's a different mix-up too, so that's an exciting group to work with this year."

Still, Gordon did allow that "it matters" to him whether he is the starting running back for this Broncos offense.

"I'm competitive, man," Gordon said. "I come here, I want to compete, I want to do all the right things, try to say all the right things. [I] kind of know what it is at times, unfortunately. I'm still a competitor at the end of the day. You take that away, and the love's kind of gone. In my head, every day, I kind of tell myself that's not the case. You're not just given anyone's position. It's the NFL, you have to earn it. You have to earn it. And that's what I tell myself every day. Nothing's given. So that kind of keeps me going, keeps me focused, keeps me finishing, keeps me grinding."

Gordon was clear, though, that his role on the team was secondary to his ultimate goal of winning a world championship. Gordon has made the playoffs just once in his career, and he suggested he is desperate to return.

"'Hack' [Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett] told me coming in, 'At the end of the day, it's about the Super Bowl. It's about winning the Super Bowl. And we're going to do whatever is best for the team,'" Gordon said. "I'm bought into that 100 percent, 'cause I want the ring more than anything. I do feel I can help this team, so when I get in, I've got to show that."


The Broncos will hit the road for the first time under Hackett's guidance, and the first-time head coach said the team will use its lone preseason road game as a run-through ahead of the regular season. Hackett said the key to finding success on the road is clearly communicating standards and expectations.

"I think everything just has to be defined," Hackett said. "It's about communication with everything that we do. You have to communicate nonstop with everybody so that they know exactly what we're looking for. We will make it just like a regular road trip on how we do things for the afternoon game there at 1 o'clock. We'll kind of go through that process, and we'll be able to find out some things and work through it. It's always a little different when you have this many guys, but I think we'll be able to get a lot of good information."

When the schedule came out in May, Hackett noted the Broncos would spend just one night in the opposing city, to protect important family time on the evening before the team travels.


As Billy Turner works his way back into practice following an offseason procedure, Hackett said they'll initially slot Turner at right tackle. Turner started 14 games at several different spots for the Packers in 2020 before starting at right tackle in 13 games last year. No matter where he starts, though, Turner's versatility will remain an important part of his game.

"It's funny, I look back at Green Bay and he still gives me the bad look, because, heck, he played so many positions," Hackett said. "He was unbelievable, because we would be in a situation on a Friday, and he would have prepared all week for one position and we'd have to change it. And he'd go to a guard or a left tackle. ... For me, it's about how he fits. Right now, we want to see what he does at right tackle. The great thing about Billy is his flexibility to play all over the field."

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