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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 5:24 pm 
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First, what's wrong?

I've heard it suggested that Howard just doesn't have the same burst that he had before. Considering his age and that we haven't seen him limping around, I don't buy that for a second. Howard is what he is and he's no different.

So what IS different? Well... we have a new offensive staff from the head coach down and a new offense. We know that Nagy, the chief architect has had very productive run games in the past. Drilling down into details, we find that the Bears blocking scheme is a different power blocking style than the zone blocking the Bears did in the Fox era, when Howard was a bell cow back who went to one Pro Bowl and rushed for 1100+ both years. If my math is correct, his 3.3 yards per carry (compared to 5.2 and 4.1 the last 2 years) has him on pace for under 800 yards by season's end.

Now we're getting somewhere. That the blocking scheme could be a significant contributor to the problem is supported by this study of Howard in 2016. Part of his actual description includes this sentence... "Howard is a zone runner through and through".

So what can be done to rectify this problem? It seems pretty unlikely and counterproductive to completely switch blocking schemes mid-season, even if Harry Hiestand knew how to coach a zone style. Can zone concepts be blended into the scheme to play to Howard's strengths? How do you fix this, and our running game?

P.S. It sure looks to me like the big loser in the Matt Nagy takeover was/is Jordan Howard by a very large margin. If I'm him, I'm begging the team to trade me to another team who can utilize my skills the way I was used under John Fox. The amount of dough he may lose by the time he hits FA could be staggering.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 5:54 pm 
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Mikefive wrote:
First, what's wrong?

I've heard it suggested that Howard just doesn't have the same burst that he had before. Considering his age and that we haven't seen him limping around, I don't buy that for a second. Howard is what he is and he's no different.

So what IS different? Well... we have a new offensive staff from the head coach down and a new offense. We know that Nagy, the chief architect has had very productive run games in the past. Drilling down into details, we find that the Bears blocking scheme is a different power blocking style than the zone blocking the Bears did in the Fox era, when Howard was a bell cow back who went to one Pro Bowl and rushed for 1100+ both years. If my math is correct, his 3.3 yards per carry (compared to 5.2 and 4.1 the last 2 years) has him on pace for under 800 yards by season's end.

Now we're getting somewhere. That the blocking scheme could be a significant contributor to the problem is supported by this study of Howard in 2016. Part of his actual description includes this sentence... "Howard is a zone runner through and through".

So what can be done to rectify this problem? It seems pretty unlikely and counterproductive to completely switch blocking schemes mid-season, even if Harry Hiestand knew how to coach a zone style. Can zone concepts be blended into the scheme to play to Howard's strengths? How do you fix this, and our running game?

P.S. It sure looks to me like the big loser in the Matt Nagy takeover was/is Jordan Howard by a very large margin. If I'm him, I'm begging the team to trade me to another team who can utilize my skills the way I was used under John Fox. The amount of dough he may lose by the time he hits FA could be staggering.


When the Bears switched to a zone scheme during the Vikings game, Howard was eating up 5-6 yards a carry. I don't think he's going to lose a lot of money. I think that if he does get traded at year-end, he will go to a team that will be willing to use his particular strengths.

If Nagy actually wants to fix it for Howard, he just needs to switch to a zone blocking scheme on run plays. The problem becomes, I don't think (and somebody correct me on this) that you can run a heavy RPO game with zone blocking. So Nagy would have to change his offense to fit Howard, and I don't see that happening.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 6:07 pm 
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Nothing of what I'm about to type is an attempt to shit on Jordan Howard. Far from it. This guy has proven that he can play at a high level in this league.

The offense is putting up roughly 30 points per game playing effectively 2.5 quarters of football before the overly conservative run out the clock playcalling kicks in. This is happening with kind of an average running game.

Bears Whiskey Nut has mentioned that Howard is a zone runner, but that's not our scheme. I'm certain that's part of it. But does that fit in with what Nagy wants? IDK.

This offense does not need an $8M+ running back to be effective. We need a slightly above average or even an average running game to convert 3rd and short. I would rather achieve that through improving the offensive line; especially the right side where Long is always injured and Massie doesn't impress.

Howard has a cap hit of $782k next year. Even if he doesn't improve at all this year it is a no brainer to keep him. Also consider that we don't have many draft picks in 2019 so drafting a replacement will not be easy. An FA signing will cost us multiples more than what it would take to just keep Howard at the $782k.

I would rather keep Howard through 2019 and evaluate what a tagging / resigning would cost. If we can rebuild the right side of the line through the draft and improve the quality that way we can use the Long or Massie money to keep Howard provided his performance improves. The only way I trade him prior to the 2019 season is for a second round pick which would just wind up being his replacement.

https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/chicago-bears/cap/2019/

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 6:56 pm 
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Olin Kruetz said it best on one of the post game shows, the Bears don't want to run. They are putting up points and winning doing what they are doing. He said right now they do not have the incentive or attitude of a team that wants to run.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 7:19 pm 
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The Marshall Plan wrote:
Nothing of what I'm about to type is an attempt to shit on Jordan Howard. Far from it. This guy has proven that he can play at a high level in this league.

The offense is putting up roughly 30 points per game playing effectively 2.5 quarters of football before the overly conservative run out the clock playcalling kicks in. This is happening with kind of an average running game.

Bears Whiskey Nut has mentioned that Howard is a zone runner, but that's not our scheme. I'm certain that's part of it. But does that fit in with what Nagy wants? IDK.

This offense does not need an $8M+ running back to be effective. We need a slightly above average or even an average running game to convert 3rd and short. I would rather achieve that through improving the offensive line; especially the right side where Long is always injured and Massie doesn't impress.

Howard has a cap hit of $782k next year. Even if he doesn't improve at all this year it is a no brainer to keep him. Also consider that we don't have many draft picks in 2019 so drafting a replacement will not be easy. An FA signing will cost us multiples more than what it would take to just keep Howard at the $782k.

I would rather keep Howard through 2019 and evaluate what a tagging / resigning would cost. If we can rebuild the right side of the line through the draft and improve the quality that way we can use the Long or Massie money to keep Howard provided his performance improves. The only way I trade him prior to the 2019 season is for a second round pick which would just wind up being his replacement.

https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/chicago-bears/cap/2019/
I don't see why it's a no brainer to keep a guy who can only gets 3.3 per rush as your primary RB. It's a no brainer to do something different and improve. This is an 11-5 kinda team who is now in their Super Bowl window, certainly starting next year. If things don't dramatically improve, I would expect Pace to trade Howard in the offseason as a win-win-win and get a RB who can be more successful in our scheme. And I LOVE Jordan Howard.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 7:21 pm 
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I did tweet Brett Kollmann to ask him to do a "what's wrong with Jordan Howard" film review.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 7:42 pm 
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Mikefive wrote:
The Marshall Plan wrote:
Nothing of what I'm about to type is an attempt to shit on Jordan Howard. Far from it. This guy has proven that he can play at a high level in this league.

The offense is putting up roughly 30 points per game playing effectively 2.5 quarters of football before the overly conservative run out the clock playcalling kicks in. This is happening with kind of an average running game.

Bears Whiskey Nut has mentioned that Howard is a zone runner, but that's not our scheme. I'm certain that's part of it. But does that fit in with what Nagy wants? IDK.

This offense does not need an $8M+ running back to be effective. We need a slightly above average or even an average running game to convert 3rd and short. I would rather achieve that through improving the offensive line; especially the right side where Long is always injured and Massie doesn't impress.

Howard has a cap hit of $782k next year. Even if he doesn't improve at all this year it is a no brainer to keep him. Also consider that we don't have many draft picks in 2019 so drafting a replacement will not be easy. An FA signing will cost us multiples more than what it would take to just keep Howard at the $782k.

I would rather keep Howard through 2019 and evaluate what a tagging / resigning would cost. If we can rebuild the right side of the line through the draft and improve the quality that way we can use the Long or Massie money to keep Howard provided his performance improves. The only way I trade him prior to the 2019 season is for a second round pick which would just wind up being his replacement.

https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/chicago-bears/cap/2019/
I don't see why it's a no brainer to keep a guy who can only gets 3.3 per rush as your primary RB. It's a no brainer to do something different and improve. This is an 11-5 kinda team who is now in their Super Bowl window, certainly starting next year. If things don't dramatically improve, I would expect Pace to trade Howard in the offseason as a win-win-win and get a RB who can be more successful in our scheme. And I LOVE Jordan Howard.


Because of the cost. His cap hit is virtually nothing. Find somebody without a bigger cap hit that has the same performance potential then I'll change my mind. We know from previous years that Howard can play. Its just the scheme. Give him another year in Nagy's scheme and maybe this gets better. His performance could also be a function of the offensive line. I still think the better solution is improving the offense line and finding a solution elsewhere at RB to prevent tying up cap money at a position with declining importance.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 8:12 pm 
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I don't think it's just Howard. The loss of long has hurt some, kush is not a dominant road grader, weintzman is a backup and Daniels is just learning but has potential.

They are all fairly good pass blocking but either due to scheme or players not opening a lot of holes in the run game they are struggling in that aspect.

But, I don't think Howard is a great fit in this type of offense and you can get what they are getting out of him out of a UDFA, so if they could trade for a 3rd or 4th I think they would in a heartbeat to get someone who fits a little more.

Howard has caught the ball ok, but he is not a natural/fluid receiver.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 8:15 pm 
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Otis Day wrote:
Olin Kruetz said it best on one of the post game shows, the Bears don't want to run. They are putting up points and winning doing what they are doing. He said right now they do not have the incentive or attitude of a team that wants to run.


Yeah. In the WCO/Nagy offense. The screens passes are the running game. It's all about finding the mismatch in the defense, and exploiting the hell out of it. At least until the defense adjusts, and then you find the next mismatch.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 8:20 pm 
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The Marshall Plan wrote:
Mikefive wrote:
The Marshall Plan wrote:
Nothing of what I'm about to type is an attempt to shit on Jordan Howard. Far from it. This guy has proven that he can play at a high level in this league.

The offense is putting up roughly 30 points per game playing effectively 2.5 quarters of football before the overly conservative run out the clock playcalling kicks in. This is happening with kind of an average running game.

Bears Whiskey Nut has mentioned that Howard is a zone runner, but that's not our scheme. I'm certain that's part of it. But does that fit in with what Nagy wants? IDK.

This offense does not need an $8M+ running back to be effective. We need a slightly above average or even an average running game to convert 3rd and short. I would rather achieve that through improving the offensive line; especially the right side where Long is always injured and Massie doesn't impress.

Howard has a cap hit of $782k next year. Even if he doesn't improve at all this year it is a no brainer to keep him. Also consider that we don't have many draft picks in 2019 so drafting a replacement will not be easy. An FA signing will cost us multiples more than what it would take to just keep Howard at the $782k.

I would rather keep Howard through 2019 and evaluate what a tagging / resigning would cost. If we can rebuild the right side of the line through the draft and improve the quality that way we can use the Long or Massie money to keep Howard provided his performance improves. The only way I trade him prior to the 2019 season is for a second round pick which would just wind up being his replacement.

https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/chicago-bears/cap/2019/
I don't see why it's a no brainer to keep a guy who can only gets 3.3 per rush as your primary RB. It's a no brainer to do something different and improve. This is an 11-5 kinda team who is now in their Super Bowl window, certainly starting next year. If things don't dramatically improve, I would expect Pace to trade Howard in the offseason as a win-win-win and get a RB who can be more successful in our scheme. And I LOVE Jordan Howard.


Because of the cost. His cap hit is virtually nothing. Find somebody without a bigger cap hit that has the same performance potential then I'll change my mind. We know from previous years that Howard can play. Its just the scheme. Give him another year in Nagy's scheme and maybe this gets better. His performance could also be a function of the offensive line. I still think the better solution is improving the offense line and finding a solution elsewhere at RB to prevent tying up cap money at a position with declining importance.
To your point, it will be interesting to see what happens at the RT position this offseason as Massie is a FA. I don't see him as problematic as some do. I could see us re-signing him at a raise. But if you want to improve upon him, that's going to cost even more. Of course, there's always the promote Rashaad Coward experiment, which would certainly buy you significant cap space, if they want to take that risk.

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Go back to leather helmets, NFL.


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