With Jeremy Langford struggling and Ka’Deem Carey banged up, it’s time for Jordan Howard to step up for the Chicago Bears.
The Chicago Bears are struggling. The defense seems like it’s on the field constantly- exhausted by the fourth quarter, the play-calling by the coaching staff seems uninspired and the offense needs a spark. Those are three main reasons why the Bears are sitting at 0-2 and stumbling out of the gate. Those issues could all be fixed with the emergence of one man- Jordan Howard.
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Howard was the Bears fifth round draft pick in the 2016 draft out of Indiana. He is a fast, bull-dozing running back that has the ability to catch passes out of the backfield. Draft analysts loved that the Bears were able to land the talented Howard that late in the draft and expected that he could help the offense immediately.
Howard didn’t see the field week one against the Houston Texans. But in week two, with the Bears down 9-7 and Ka’Deem Carey nursing a hamstring issue, Howard came in to spell Langford in the third quarter of the game. Howard gained 18 yards on back-to-back carries and got the Bears past midfield with a short 2nd and 2 opportunity putting the Bears in prime position to at least get a field goal out of the drive and retake the lead.
Unfortunately, the coaching staff put Langford back in the game, he lost yardage on second down (not his fault), Jay Cutler’s third down pass was incomplete and the Bears were forced to punt.
Howard showed in that brief moment that he could be exactly what the Bears offense needs. The offense has been a major issue for the team at this point. They aren’t sustaining drives. They aren’t keeping time of possession. Most importantly, they aren’t scoring points.
The Bears want to run the football, but unfortunately for them, their running game is struggling and the offense isn’t clicking because of it. The Dallas Cowboys are the team’s next opponent down in Texas on Sunday Night Football. Dallas has one of the worst run defenses in the league and the Bears could be primed to turn things around.
The Bears have plenty of issues right now thanks to the numerous injuries facing the team, but if the offense can sustain drives and keep the defense off the field, they can start making strides in the right direction.
For this team, especially with Brian Hoyer under center, sustaining drives is going to mean consistently running the football with success. If they can do that, it will open up the passing game for Hoyer and open up the playbook for Dowell Loggains. Not to mention, keep the defense off the field and keep them fresher later into the game in hopes that things don’t collapse like they have the first two weeks.
The middle of the Bears offensive line with Josh Sitton, Cody Whitehair, and Kye Long is strong and should continue to improve. Bobby Massie is a mess in pass protection, but his run blocking is decent. Howard should be able to get behind this offensive line and gain some yardage.
If he can do that against Dallas, even if the Bears lose, it should help gain some confidence for a team that badly needs it. Perhaps Langford has only gotten off to a slow start and he will have success against Dallas. But truth be told, Howard showed more explosiveness in three carries against Philadelphia than Langford did in both games combined.
Expect John Fox and Loggains to give Howard close to 50% of the carries against Dallas. If he is outperforming Langford early, you can expect the Bears to go with the hot hand and see what Howard can do with 15-20 carries.
The table is set for Jordan Howard. A national audience awaits him on Sunday Night Football. He’ll be facing America’s team down in “Big D.” This could be Howard’s coming out party. All the Bears have to do is give him the opportunity.