Potential landing spots for Jordan Howard

Josh Purnell, Courier Staff

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Jordan Howard was the playmaker for the Chicago Bears’ offense. During his first two seasons, he ran 2,435 yards and had 15 touchdowns. He also went to the Pro Bowl in his rookie year. Going into the 2018 season, the Bears hired Matt Nagy as the new head coach.

The Bears, for a long time, never had a legit offense or an offense that can attack the defense with the pass and run. The Bears traditionally ran the ball till the defense got tired. If they didn’t get in the end zone, the special team would come out on the field and kick for three points or punt.

Nagy’s job was to come in and change the culture of the Bears’ offense. Nagy worked under Andy Reid, the head coach for the Kansas City Chiefs, who has a great offensive mind. The Bears needed Nagy to fill that void and give the fans something to cheer about. Nagy’s offense is created for players who are versatile, fast, quick and athletic. Given those descriptions, you might be thinking about Tarik Cohen. He had a great season, making it to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career. Nagy had Cohen doing almost everything: running, catching, returning punts and throwing. Opponents’ game plans went from focusing on Howard, to focusing on Cohen.

Although Howard had a productive season running for 935 yards and nine touchdowns, his performance said something different. Based on the eye test, Howard didn’t look like he could fit in Nagy’s offense. You would’ve thought he slowed down because he looked like he was running slowly, but he wasn’t. Nagy’s offense isn’t for a player like Howard. Howard is a down-for-down running back who can’t necessarily catch the ball in the backfield.

There have been some speculations about trading Howard. The Bears just signed running back Mike Davis to a two-year contract this offseason. So, it seemed like Howard will be traded at some point. Howard is a great young running back who has the potential to be one of the best in the league. He’s already proven that his first two seasons in the league. To continue his great career, where should the Bears trade Howard? I have three teams in mind.

The first could be to the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders had two running backs last season; Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin. Together they ran for a total of 1,099 yards and seven touchdowns. Neither of these guys have much left in the tank. If Gruden can get a power back like Howard who has proven to be the best starting running back in the league, Gruden can be onto something on the offensive side of the ball. Let’s not forget the Steelers traded Antonio Brown to the Raiders as well. With Derek Carr under center, Howard in the backfield and Brown out wide, defenses around the league better watch out.

The second is the Houston Texans. Although the Texans have Lamar Miller, Miller is a versatile running back that doesn’t fit well in Bill O’ Brien’s offense. The Texans have yet to fix their offensive line. The Texans led the league with 62 sacks in the 2018 season. With a running back like Howard who can fight through contact, that would be very beneficial for the Texans’ offense. Howard can also block in the backfield. That can save DeShaun Watson some time to throw the ball. The Texans have some key players on their offense like DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Watson. Adding Howard to the team not only can help them, but also possibly get them back in the playoffs.

Last pick would be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Although the Buccaneers’ primary focus should be on a new quarterback, it looks like they’re going to stick with Jameis Winston. Howard would be a huge help for the Buccaneers offense, especially since the Buccaneers were in 12th place for total offensive points during the 2018 season. This is not bad at all, but with Howard on the team, the Buccaneers can easily be in the top-10 in total offensive points. The Buccaneers struggled running the ball during the 2018 season. The Buccaneers were 29th in total rushing. The Buccaneers don’t have a legit running back they can utilize in their offense and Howard would be perfect. The offense already have some pieces in place with players like Mike Evans and OJ Howard. Howard would definitely make their offense one of the top elite offenses in the league.

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