New Bears coach sees Jordan Howard as three-down back
Jordan Howard has rushed for over 1,000 yards in his first two NFL seasons, but he has struggled a bit in the passing game. Many think he is better suited as an early-down back because of that, but new Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy does not see it that way.
Howard has been working on catching passes this offseason, and Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune notes that he has shown improvement. The 23-year-old says that has a lot to do with new running backs coach Charles London working with him on hand placement.
“I used to have my hands all over the place, but now Coach London is working with me on my hand placement and looking the ball in,” Howard explained.
Nagy, who was the offensive coordinator in Kansas City last year when Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt caught 53 passes, said there’s no reason to think Howard can’t be an every-down back.
“There’s this notion that he is just a first-and second-down back, and I don’t believe that,” Nagy said. “Jordan can play all three downs. We’re going to do that. We’re going to use him, and we’re going to use other guys on first and second down when we need to.
“For us, it’s important for Jordan to know and for everybody on our offense to know that he’s a big part of this. This kid’s had a very successful career so far. We’re crazy as coaches if we don’t understand it and if we don’t use that to our advantage.”
Second-year back Tarik Cohen had 53 receptions for Chicago last season, so he will obviously be a factor. Having two backs who can catch passes is never a bad thing, and that is surely what Nagy is hoping for in 2018.