The loss of Melvin Gordon for the next few weeks is obviously big. Just how big of a loss is it? Can the offense maintain their same level of play without him?
Richard Wade: I think the loss of Melvin Gordon is substantial, but not catastrophic. At the end of the day, no matter how good a running back is, and Gordon has been very good, they are still just a running back. Austin Ekeler is not as good as Gordon in some areas, but he is actually better in others. Justin Jackson is obviously not on the same level as either of them, but he is a capable player, and in the infrastructure of the Chargers’ offense, that is good enough for your RB2. The red zone offense will probably suffer somewhat, but there is no reason the Chargers cannot continue to play at a high level on the offensive side of the ball.
Matthew Stanley: The loss of MG3 is large no doubt. Gordon is having his most complete season as a pro and is really hitting his stride as a RB in this offense. However I think the Chargers will be able to weather this storm. Austin Ekeler is an EXTREMELY capable RB and a super versatile weapon. Justin Jackson and Detrez Newsome are both serviceable backs who can produce in small doses. Philip Rivers apparently has reached Buddhist Monk levels of focus after the loss to the Broncos and if that continues it should keep the offense rolling as well. Not to mention, with Joey Bosa back the defense looks to be firing on all cylinders and will take pressure off of the offense. Hopefully this will save MG3’s legs from fatigue while he is rehabbing and resting and he can come back for the final push and the playoffs with semi-fresh legs.
Michael Peterson: The loss of Gordon is a heavy blow that will hang on the team on amd off the field. However, we all know Ekeler is more than capable while Justin Jackson wasn’t too shabby in garbage time yesterday. Newsome also has experience playing with the ones in the preseason so the there isn’t a big “unknown” variable in the RB situation. The passing game still hummed along without Tyrell Williams and I believe yesterday’s game is exactly what the team needed to get their heads right.
Daniel Stebbins: Losing Melvin Gordon is less than ideal, obviously. As others have said, he’s having a career season and even beyond the stats he’s clearly taken a giant leap in the right direction. That being said, Austin Ekeler is ready for the increased role in the offense that many have wanted for him the entire season. Ekeler offers things that Gordon doesn’t so while it won’t be a one for one exchange, I believe he can match production. Additionally, the guys behind Ekeler were both promising (Jackson in college, Newsome in preseason) and should be ready to pitch in as needed. Both had over 100 receptions in college, as well as being very productive running, so they shouldn’t handcuff the offense as far as their versatility goes. The offense may not look exactly the same, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be just as effective.
Ruben J. Gonzalez: The loss of Melvin Gordon will be a tough pill to swallow, but in the end it may just make the team better for it. The Chargers have a pretty good backup in Austin Ekeler and I think giving him an extended look will really open the eyes of the coaching staff in how to deploy him. He sometimes gets underutilized in this offense and it’s time that the team considers him a real weapon in this offense. Is there a big difference in Gordon/Ekeler? Sure, but its not as wide as some may think. Austin is good. He will show just how good he is in the next few weeks. Besides, Joey Bosa is back, right!
Mike Murray: Is the loss of Gordon that big at all? There is a capable replacement in Ekeler. The drop off between Gordon and Ekeler is not that big. Mostly they will miss Gordons punishing runs and his redzone effectiveness. Ekeler while not as physical as Gordon also has a nose for the endzone and is a bit more elusive in space and between the tackles. Also, this offense has so many weapons. The passing game should go unaffected. I think the biggest loss may be his inspiring runs where he refuses to go down. They seemed to have a way of pumping up the offense.
Jake Hefner: I consider the loss of Gordon to be considerable, to a certain extent. It’s obvious that The Chargers offense is much different with him when he is not on the field. We saw that when he was out for the game against Tennessee. Because Gordon has blossomed into a such a complete back, It leaves a lot for opposing defenses to prepare for. Gordon’s production has assisted the in the tempo of the offense and given flexibility to Rivers to produce in the passing game. That being said, I believe that this team can produce with a committee running back group of Ekeler and Jackson. It will be up to Whiz and Lynn to tailor the offense to put both of those RB’s in a position that plays to their strengths. I don’t believe Whiz put Ekeler in a position to succeed against Tennessee. Hopefully he can improve in his game plan with Ekeler as the starter. The Chargers face the 10th, 31st and 20th ranked rushing defenses over the next three weeks, so it is possible for them to sustain the loss of Gordon.
Louis Gorini: First of all I’ve probably been one of the biggest Gordon supporter since they have drafted him, almost to a fault. So no one is more team Gordon than me. That being said, the loss of Gordon is not a big deal at all and probably a blessing in disguise. It’s better that they lose Gordon now than later in the season where he wouldn’t be back for the playoffs. And they will now have time to devise an offensive plan without Gordon in the upcoming weeks. December is brutal stretch of games for LA and the Chargers could be facing many teams that they will be facing in the playoffs (Steelers, Ravens, Broncos). The good thing here is that if the Chargers face these teams for the second time during the playoffs, the opposing teams will have to adjust to facing Gordon for the first time so it would be like they are facing a completely different offense. Now the caveat to this is the Chargers have to make the playoffs and I think they do.
What do you think? Is the sky falling or will the Chargers’ offense be okay while Gordon is out?