The Chicago Bears aren’t very good this season, but they have at least one potential building block for the future, and one I believe is a future pro bowler. Rookie running back Jordan Howard was inserted into the starting line up when Jeremy Langford hurt his ankle, and he took advantage of the opportunity.
Howard didn’t even get off the bench in week one, and in week two he only had 5 touches, 3 rushes for 22 yards and 2 receptions for 9 yards. Langford was hurt during the week three contest against the Cowboys, so Howard saw a few more touches, 9 runs for 45 yards and 4 catches for 47 yards. After that game, Bears’ fans were still waiting for their team to win, but they started to see the kind of talent Howard had.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the only time Howard has had 20+ carries, the Bears won both games. If you have a stud, you give him the ball, and Howard sure looks like a stud.
He’s only had a couple games where he struggled; The Jaguars game he had a fumble (his only fumble on the year) and then wasn’t given many more touches, and in the Packers game the Bears were forced to play catch-up behind 3rd string QB Matt Barkley. He’s also had a case of the dropsies creep up the last few weeks, but in the 4 games since the Green Bay game, Howard is averaging 104 rushing yards per game and 5.5 yards per carry. He’s added 8 catches for 114 yards.
Howard is the 9th leading rusher in the NFL with 766 yards, but his 149 carries ranks 16th. He’s also the 2nd leading rookie rusher and the 10th leading rookie receiver with 22 receptions.
Howard is actually 11th in the NFL with 25.3% of his teams scrimmage yards. Tenth on that list is ex-Bear and current New York Jet Matt Forte.
I don’t think the Bears figured to get this much production from Howard as a rookie, but he’s clearly the best runner on the roster and in my opinion, a future Pro Bowler. As it stands now, he’s the 3rd leading rusher in the NFC, so he has a decent chance to be playing in Orlando this January.
Howard has shown good vision, a good burst and quickness, he’s been able to get skinny through the hole, he has a good forward lean, he’s been solid picking up the blitz, and until recently, he’s been a much better pass catcher than I expected.
This week Howard will be wearing custom cleats to honor his late father, Reginald “Doc” Howard, and to raise awareness for pulmonary fibrosis. During the week 13 games, the NFL is allowing players to represent a cause of their choice in their “My Cleats, My Cause” campaign.
Here are the shoes that Howard will be wearing.
Do you guys share my optimism on Howard, or would you like to see more from him before deciding if he can be “The Man” moving forward?