When running back Jordan Howard was presented with a hypothetical situation
by a reporter at Bears rookie minicamp, the fifth-round pick answered without
What would he do, Howard, was asked, if he found himself one-on-one with a
linebacker in the hole?
"If it's short yards, I'm running straight through him," said the 6-foot,
230-pounder, providing an answer that no doubt will endear him to Bears fans far
Described by general manager Ryan Pace as a "downhill, physical north-south
runner," Howard appears to be a perfect fit for a team that makes no secret of
its desire to pound opponents on the ground. Wholesale
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"I'm very happy about that because I feel like you definitely need a strong
run game to be successful in this league," Howard said. "Especially late in the
season, cold weather, you're going to have to run the clock out and you won't be
able to pass as well."
Bears running back Jordan Howard
Bears running back Jordan Howard rushed for 1,213 yards and nine touchdowns
on 196 carries last season at Indiana.
Last season at Indiana, Howard rushed for 1,213 yards and nine touchdowns on
196 carries despite missing four games with ankle and knee injuries. Maryland
interim coach Mike Locksley described Howard as a "bruising-style runner" who
combines "power and balance" and "runs with great leverage." Philadelphia
"I feel like I bring a lot of power, a lot of physicalness," Howard said.
"I'm able to get those tough yards, squeeze through the tight holes and
everything, and just bring a physical presence." Pittsburgh
Howard played his first two collegiate seasons at Alabama-Birmingham in
2013-14 before transferring to Indiana after UAB disbanded its football program.
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The Birmingham native made an immediate impact at Indiana, becoming the first
FBS player in the last 20 years to rush for at least 140 yards in each of his
first four games with a program, compiling 145, 159, 203 and 168 yards. San Diego
In back-to-back games late in the season, Howard rushed for 174 yards against
Iowa and 238 yards versus Michigan, the second most ever by a Wolverines
opponent. He believes his outing against Michigan really enhanced his status as
an NFL prospect.
"It felt like it helped a lot because they were the [No. 3] rush defense
coming into the game and they hadn't given up a 100-yard rusher," Howard said.
"I just felt like we had a great team effort. Everybody worked together very
well and we put everything together."
Howard will compete for playing time in the Bears backfield this summer with
2015 fourth-round Jeremy Langford and 2014 fourth-round selection Ka'Deem Carey,
Coach John Fox believes in a backfield-by-committee approach—a strategy he
employed successfully in previous stints with the Panthers and Broncos. Fox's
teams have featured two rushers with at least 434 yards each of the last 11
seasons, including last year when Matt Forte gained 898 yards and Langford added
"The biggest part is just kind of settling on two guys typically in the
rotation, who they are, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and then
situationally or it can be even just as far as whoever has got a hot hand as far
as in the game or the course of a game," Fox said.
"I think it's hard to get through a season with just one back from a health
standpoint when you've got 11 guys chasing him around trying to whack him."
From what he's seen of his new teammates, Howard feels that several Bears
running backs all bring something a little different to the table. Wholesale
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"I think we complement each other very well," he said. "We all have different
skill sets, and we can all work together to make this team a great team."