Yesterday, I looked at the most surprising Bears player through four games.
It’s been fun to look back through a quarter of the season and have a winning team to pour over. The downside is that there weren’t so many players that jumped out to me as surprising because so many were hyped up throughout the offseason, and then lived up to it when the games counted.
On the flip side though, it’s difficult to pick a disappointing player because there hasn’t been much to be disappointed about. Any time I get to write about a winning team, it’s a good thing, but that means that I have to dig a little deeper and likely pick a disappointing player that could cause some protest.
But, maybe spurring a conversation is a good thing.
My initial thought for disappointing player was Eric Kush. He’s struggled at times and been called for a couple of penalties. However, there wasn’t much to be expected from him to begin with. He’s been a bit of a journeyman/back up most of his career, and so it made sense that he would eventually give his position up to rookie James Daniels. This week may be that week, because he has already been rotated in for Kush in the last couple of games before the bye.
However, my pick is Jordan Howard. Granted, I understand that a lot of his struggles likely stem from game plans and from defenses keying in on the Bears run game in favor of making Mitch Trubisky beat them (which nearly worked for the first three weeks).
Howard has near-identical carries as he did through four games last year (63 in 2017, 64 this year) but in 2017 he already had four touchdowns, 252 yards and a 4.0 YPC average. This season he’s at 203 yards, one touchdown and 3.2 YPC. According to Football Outsiders his DYAR (value overall) and his DVOA (Value Per Play) are way down from last season. His success rate of 55 percent, mixed with his DVOA (-15.7 percent), suggests he is getting yards he needs but nothing more, per FO’s own metrics (click the link above for more).
Before you say that Howard is simply facing eight man boxes a lot, note that Next Gen Stats says that he is facing that just 17.19 percent of time, whereas Saquon Barkley is facing eight man fronts 22.54 percent of the time and Ezekiel Elliott 25.81 percent of the time.
I do think that he will get going again but so far this season, I am disappointed.
Who do you think has been the most disappointing?