Tackling Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard seems like an unenviable task:
No rookie running back forced more missed tackles on running plays than Jordan Howard in 2016. pic.twitter.com/FqD9mUgEoh
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 26, 2017
No rookie rusher – not even Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott – forced more missed tackles than Howard, who forced 40 while playing 114 fewer snaps than Elliott, in 2016.
It’s unfortunate that Howard didn’t get his due in some of the offseason top player lists, but I can’t imagine that will be the case for long – especially if he goes out and meets the lofty expectations he has set for himself in 2017.
- Howard’s time on the snub list won’t be long if he continues to get national press for what he did despite playing on a 3-13 Bears team. Sean Wagner-McGough of CBS Sports believes Howard is unfairly overlooked and in prime position to take the NFL rushing crown from Elliott, citing a handful of factors ranging from offensive line help to Mike Glennon potentially being an upgrade from Matt Barkley and Brian Hoyer. The Bears might be bad, but the team’s shortcomings won’t be Howard’s fault.
- Leading the NFL in rushing isn’t the only thing Howard has on his mind entering his second season with the Bears. Over at CSN Chicago, Chris Boden writes about Howard as a leader in the locker room, as well as on the stat sheet. “I definitely feel like a veteran ’cause I know what to expect and can help the young guys on the plays that they’re not understanding,” Howard told Boden. “I’m just more comfortable and want to be a leader.”
- At this time last year, Howard was a relative unknown. He was a fifth-round pick out of Indiana and the 10th running back selected in the draft. You could argue he was an afterthought on the depth chart behind Jeremy Langford – who was set to take over Matt Forte’s role as the team’s feature back – and former fourth-round pick Ka’Deem Carey, who was paying his dues as a special teamer until moving up the depth chart. Howard’s rise says a lot about his skill, potential, and work ethic. It also says something about the volatility of the running back position, which has a significant amount of turnover yearly. Even still, it feels as if Howard is the real deal.
- An offseason of overhaul has Chris Roling of Bleacher Report looking at the best and worst moves of the Bears’ offseason. If you’re looking for some positives in what was a wild offseason, note how the Bears revamped their secondary and completely changed their quarterbacks room. Unfortunately, the bad might outweigh the good as the Bears didn’t do much to improve their group of receivers, perceived woes at offensive tackles, or shore up their pass rush – three areas that were major concerns coming into the offseason.
- Earlier, we talked about the glut of tight ends on the Bears’ roster and how it could impact Zach Miller. Over at CBS Chicago, Chris Emma writes about Daniel Brown, one of the tight ends who could be pushing for increased playing time as he grows comfortable in his role after transitioning from life as a college wide receiver to a pro tight end.
- Maybe those concerns will be worked out during training camp, which begins one month from today in Bourbonnais. Get pumped!
- An executive of an NFC North rival looks to be staying put. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that the Kansas City Chiefs requested an interview of Minnesota Vikings assistant GM George Paton for their vacant GM job, but Paton has declined and will stay put in Minnesota.
- Bears rookies visiting Shriners Hospitals For Children is the heart-warming story you need to read today.
- An all-too-early preview of this season’s Bears-Eagles tilt doesn’t look too good for the Bears. Then again, we’re talking about a game in Week 12 while sitting in late June.
- As it turns out, there might be more Chicago Bears fans than actual bears on this planet. That’s kinda neat.
- It’s a bright and sunny summer day, so don’t forget your shades: