What happened to Khalil Herbert's usage with the Chicago Bears?

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When the Chicago Bears emerged from the bye week, there were questions about how the running back usage would be divided. The Bears have started three running backs for various health reasons, but D’onta Foreman, Roschon Johnson, and Khalil Herbert were all healthy coming out of the bye week. How would the divide go?

Khalil Herbert is the Chicago Bears third string running back

The argument for Herbert is that he was the initial starter. He did not necessarily do anything to lose his job other than get hurt. You could argue that D’onta Foreman was the hot hand, but Foreman missed week 12 with an injury, so Herbert was arguably fresher. However, for the third straight game since returning from the IR, Khalil Herbert hardly saw a role. 

In the first five weeks of the season, Herbert played 59% of the offensive snaps, he had 43% of the rushing attempts, ran 46% of the routes, and had 54% of the long down and distance snaps with 75% of the short down and distance. 

Since his return in week 11, he has played 27% of the total snaps, he has 25% of the rushing attempts, and 25% of the routes run, and that comes with 11% long down and distance and 19% short down and distance. That is a significant drop. 

Last week, he played just 17% of the snaps, with 12% of the rushes and 20% of the routes run. His role continues to diminish.

Part of the reason is that he has not been successful. Herbert got a chance in week 11 and had 16 rushes for 35 yards. In the three games since returning from his injury, he had 25 rushes for 67 yards. 

Herbert does not look nearly as explosive, which makes sense considering he had an ankle injury. He has not had an explosive run since returning. Foreman is better on early downs, and Roschon Johnson is better in passing situations. It is hard to find the time to use Herbert.

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Expect the Chicago Bears to continue to ride the hot hand. Herbert may not play this little, and he may get healthier as the year goes on, but he is clearly the Bears' third running back right now.