Three yards is what’s fueling Melvin Gordon’s mentality this offseason. Three measly yards separated Gordon from reaching the 1,000-yard mark last season.
In his second year in the pros, Gordon improved across the board from his inconsistent, mistake-prone rookie season, tallying more touches, more rushing yards, more touchdowns and fewer fumbles than he did in ’15. Scouts noticed that he was a more patient runner who ran harder between the tackles and took what he could from each play, rather than trying to bounce everything outside when a hole wasn’t immediately apparent. It showed especially in the red zone; Gordon didn’t score once as a rookie but found the end zone 12 times total in his sophomore year.
The former Wisconsin Badger is looking to reach new heights as a player this season and help the Chargers rebound from a disappointing 2016 campaign. Heading into this season, the team’s first in Los Angeles, Gordon will remain the lead back, and new coach Anthony Lynn’s power running attack fits the third-year pro’s running style well. QB Philip Rivers remains as steady as ever next to Gordon in the backfield, and he has some new toys to play with on the outside—starting with first-round pick Mike Williams. Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates form a potent tight end duo, and if Keenan Allen can return healthy, the Chargers have the weapons to be a tough offense to stop. Even with the guys on outside, though, Gordon will play a crucial role.
Physically, what’s fueling him is EAS, a nutrition brand founded over a century ago and still helping top-line athletes today. The results are already impressive, as seen in early team offseason activities.
SI.com spoke on the phone with Gordon about the NFL draft, his off-season preparations and more.
SI.com:Three yards separated you from 1,000 last year. Why is that such a big motivator?
Melvin Gordon: Three yards were big for me. I know I have the ability. This offseason, I’m trying to be really focused on the details.
SI:The NFL draft has just wrapped up. What would be your advice for the guys coming out of the draft, especially the running backs?
MG: My advice would for them would be to learn as much as they can. As far as the running backs, just learn protection. That’s the best thing.
SI:The Chargers drafted wide receiver Mike Williams with the seventh overall pick. What’s your advice for him?
MG: For Mike, obviously to come in and learn the playbook as fast as he can so he can get out there and have [Rivers] throw him some dime passes and have him make plays to help us win games.
SI:Why did you make the decision to join EAS this offseason?
MG: Nutrition is one of the bigger things. EAS gives me the protein to help me build lean muscle, give me that edge and have a healthy career.
SI:One of the things EAS helps with is recovery. Why is that so important for you?
MG: It’s what you do off the field that’s gonna help you on the field. At this level, everyone’s big, everyone’s fast, everyone’s strong. It’s about who can recover the fastest to go out there and perform at a high level. [EAS] gives me the best opportunity to compete against a high level of competition.
SI:What EAS product would you recommend most?
MG: SHRED (a protein shake). It’s 42 grams of protein—just lean protein—and it tastes good.
Gordon and the Chargers kick off their season September 11 against the Broncos on Monday Night Football. You can find all of the EAS products here.