Bears’ Howard looks for more after big rookie season
BOURBONNAIS (AP) — This time last year, Jordan Howard was trying to make an impression with the Chicago Bears after being drafted in the fifth round. To that end, he sure succeeded. He broke the team’s rookie record by rushing for 1,313 yards and comes into his second season as a key figure on a rebuilt offense.
Only Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott rushed for more yards last year. While Elliott won the NFL’s rushing title with 1,631 yards, Howard averaged more per carry (5.2 to 5.1).
As good as that sounds, he was more focused on the yards he didn’t get than the ones he collected. To Howard, there were too many missed opportunities, bigger plays that got away.
“I definitely should’ve had more yards,” he said. “I should’ve been in better shape. I should’ve been playing earlier if I would’ve han- dled what I had to do. I definitely could’ve had a lot more yards.”
He insisted he can do better. How much better?
That’s one of the questions hanging over the Bears as they try to pick themselves up from a 3-13 season that left them last in the NFC North. “He’s a big, tough back,” center Cody Whitehair said. “He hits the holes very well. You know, it’s good to see him back out there again this year. He’s made some improvement.”
The Bears gutted the quarterback position, with Jay Cutler gone, Mike Glennon starting and No. 2 overall draft pick Mitch Trubisky gearing up for a run at the job down the line. On an offense that also has some questions at receiver — Kevin White’s ability to stay healthy and become a No. 1 target topping the list — Howard is a major catalyst.