The running game led the offense of the Chicago Bears in 2016. That running game was led by a rookie who burst onto the scene. Jordan Howard was a fifth-round pick in 2016 out of Indiana. He was the strength of the Bears offense. Can he have a repeat performance in 2017?
The 2016 version of Jordan Howard was outstanding. He finished with 1,313 yards. That placed him second in the NFL behind Ezekiel Elliott. His accomplishments also placed him on 2016 NFL All-Rookie Team and the 2016 Pro Bowl. Howard also earned the Week 8 NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
Jordan Howard is a natural running back. He has an outstanding vision and feel for the running lane. Howard is a punishing back. He loves to lower his shoulders and deliver the blow to would-be tacklers. He has consistent leg drive and is very difficult to bring down. His size, determination, and pure strength make Howard ideal for the type of run game the Bears want to have.
He also excels in the passing game. He caught 29 passes for just under 300 yards in 2016. Howard averaged a little over 10 yards per catch. He was a very reliable check for the plethora of Bears QB that played in 2016.
A solid running game is a way to protect a sub par QB. Jordan Howard will be the best friend of whoever plays QB for the Bears. If he can continue to average 80-90 yards per game, the Chicago Bears will be able to control the clock, keep the defense off the field, and keep teams off balance.
Although the Chicago Bears offense is highly questionable, the running game is its strength. If the Bears are going to have any chance of success they will lean on the excellent back they have in Howard. Look for Howard to have another 1,000-yard season and quite possibly be top five in the NFL again in 2017.
Editor’s Note: This article can also be seen in our upcoming NFL Preview Edition.