Bears

Bears in dire need of RB Jordan Howard delivering latest rookie first-start impact

Bears in dire need of RB Jordan Howard delivering latest rookie first-start impact

A primary, weight-bearing philosophical pillar of the John Fox Bears – running the football – has been conspicuous by its absence, which of course is everything Fox and the offense precisely did not want. The team is 0-3. The starting quarterback is out. The plan was running-back-by-committee and the intended top two members of the committee are down with injuries.

And now a lead role in changing all of that and becoming the spear point of the offense falls to a rookie who was passed over until the fifth round of the draft and has a total of 12 NFL carries and who was the only player other than the backup quarterback who was dressed but coaches didn’t play in the team’s first game.

Jordan Howard is fine with all of that. He has chips on his shoulder, the kind that players use as motivation, from getting only one scholarship offer coming out of high school to slipping in the draft.

Now, with Ka’Deem Carey and Jeremy Langford expected to miss the Detroit game, Howard is positioned to be the featured back of an NFL team. That would be what’s called a “dream.”

“Coming into the league you always want to be the featured guy, but I definitely wasn’t expecting this or expecting it to come this fast,” said Howard. “I’m definitely grateful for the opportunity, but I’m not going to let it slip through my hands, either. I’m going to make the most out of my opportunity.”

Bears rookie running backs have some recent history of being anything but overwhelmed by that first opportunity.

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In his first NFL start last season, Langford put up 182 combined run-receiving yards and scored twice.

Matt Forte rushed for 123 yards and caught passes for 18 more in his 2008 rookie start No. 1.

Anthony Thomas didn’t start til the Bears’ sixth game in 2001 but the rookie tailback responded with 127 yards on 27 carries.

Howard and the Bears would settle for any of those debuts. What Howard has done in recent weeks is focus on pass protection, typically the steepest learning curve for young backs coming from college careers where their running was the coin of the realm.

“He’s getting there,” said offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. “He’s getting closer. A lot of work in protections. In the NFL, it’s a little bit different than college football with all the different fronts and with all the different personnel packages. He’s working really hard to get caught up to speed with that, but he’s doing a nice job as a runner.”

Howard was billed as a power back when the Bears announced him as their fifth-round pick this spring. He is listed at 222 pounds but “he’s bigger than he looks,” said coach John Fox He’s a big body and has good feet, good vision, and those are pretty good qualities… .

“Every time he’s touched the ball, he’s been pretty impressive. Playing running back in the National Football League is a little bit more than just running the ball. Some of those things took a little longer to learn and to be able to execute consistently. I think he’s done that pretty well when we’ve called on him in the regular season.”

That will happen in earnest beginning around noon on Sunday.

Jay Culter and Kristin Cavallari to host private event this Valentine’s Day in West Loop

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USA Today

Jay Culter and Kristin Cavallari to host private event this Valentine’s Day in West Loop

Former Bears QB and current reality TV husband Jay Cutler will be coming back to Chicago this Valentine’s Day. Cutler’s wife, long-time reality TV star Kristin Cavallari, will be hosting a private event at Uncommon James in West Loop and Cutler is coming along for the festivities. A must event for any fans of mid 2000’s football and MTV.

For $200 per guest, attendees will enjoy food and drink, a private shopping experience and a selfie station. The 3-hour event will also include a question and answer session with Cavallari and Cutler. There’s something for everyone!

Cavallarri is on the third season of her E! show “Very Cavallari” which follows her life and growing business. Uncommon James is a fashion, lifestyle and jewelry brand who opened their Chicago location last October. The flagship store is in Nashville, where Cavallari and Cutler reside with their children.

Cutler is seemingly less-interested in the spotlight than his wife. He isn’t particularly active on social media, with Cavallari posting pictures to an Instagram account for him, so any chance to hang out with the former Bears QB is a rare opportunity. According to Instagram, it looks like Cutler is becoming more involved with Cavallari’s business, designing and modelling a bracelet that doubles as a bottle opener. How very Cutler.

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Add jewelry designer to the resume @uncommonjames

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If you’re looking to convince skeptics to shell out for the event, here’s some incentive. According to statista.com, the average Bears ticket in 2014 during the middle of Cutler’s tenure on the team was $108 per person, not even including food and drink and access to whatever a selfie station is. So, you’re paying twice as much for a much closer look at Cutler (assuming the store is smaller than Soldier Field) and a chance to ask him and his wife a question! And food! Seems fair when you put it like that.

If you and the K-Cav to your J-Cut are looking for something to do together this Valentine’s Day, the event will be held at Uncommon James in the West Loop, 849 W Randolph St., from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on February 14th. 

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Mark Sanchez knows Mitch Trubisky and John DeFilippo, and he knows it's a great pairing

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USA Today

Mark Sanchez knows Mitch Trubisky and John DeFilippo, and he knows it's a great pairing

New Bears' QB coach John DeFilippo knows a thing or two about coaching highly-drafted QBs. 

Back in 2009, DeFilippo got his first taste of life as a QB coach when his employer, the Jets, drafted Mark Sanchez with the 5th overall pick in that year's draft. 

What followed was Sanchez's best season. During a rookie campaign in which Sanchez became only the 2nd QB in NFL history to win multiple playoff games, DeFillipo coached the QB to career-bests in touchdowns (20) and yards per completion (12.5). 

Now at Halas Hall, the Bears are hoping he can work the same magic on their own highly-drafted QB. For what it's worth, Sanchez is buying in. 

"He’s a great offensive mind," Sanchez said. "Coach Nagy knows exactly what he’s doing with these hires. He understands what Mitch needs, how he needs to progress, how he needs to grow as a quarterback, and continue to make good decisions, continue to understand what defenses to make it difficult on him, and I know that John DeFilippo can help with that. He was a great resource for us as one of our assistants my rookie year in New York, had a ton of success in this league. He’s been around to plenty of places, lots of great experience, and all that experience is going to lend well in helping Mitch grow." 

Since his time in New York, DeFilippo has made stops in Oakland, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Minnesota, and most recently, Jacksonville. He was hired by the Bears back on January 16th, and will take over for Dave Ragone who was promoted to Passing Game Coordinator. 

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