Jordan Howard is NFC Offensive Player of the Week after Bears succeed with basic mindset

Jordan Howard is NFC Offensive Player of the Week after Bears succeed with basic mindset

Bears rookie running back Jordan Howard might want to be careful what he gets himself into.

Howard was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week on Wednesday after netting 202 total yards in the Bears’ win over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday. He rushed for 153 yards and caught four passes for another 49, with highlights including a 69-yard run on the Bears’ third play of the game and a two-yard touchdown run.

“(The honor) feels pretty good,” Howard said on Tuesday. “They’re giving me all this individual attention, but I definitely didn’t do it alone so I feel like I had help with this. So I really don’t feel like I deserve all this praise by myself.”

The offensive line typically gathers for dinner each Thursday, and it’s open to running backs. So maybe Howard says thanks by picking up the check for the next one?

“I’ll definitely do something like that,” Howard said.

Since the tab for that event commonly goes up into the four-figures, the kid might want to maybe start with just dessert, given that he’s still on his rookie contract. Just a thought.

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With three 100-yard games in the past five, Howard has moved from No. 3 on the depth chart to the obvious top spot. In the process he has allowed the Bears to tilt toward the run-based offense that John Fox and coordinator Dowell Loggains have professed to want.

Some of Howard's work has stemmed from the ankle injury that sidelined Jeremy Langford for several weeks before Monday.

“We were bringing Jeremy back,” Fox said. “He hadn’t had a lot of time, had been away from it. Ka’Deem (Carey) was pretty much the backup for that game, and Jeremy slipped in in some situational roles.

“But we pretty much knew Jordan was going to be the bell cow for last night.”

And presumably for the foreseeable future. Because Howard’s big games fit a pattern the Bears want. The offense was 45 percent run in the Bears’ two wins this season.

In the win over Detroit, with Howard carrying 23 times for 111 yards, the offense ran 38 run plays compared to 29 pass plays (including kneel-downs). The following week at Indianapolis, the distribution was more pass, but Howard ran for 118 yards and added 45 on three pass receptions. The Bears in fact took a fourth-quarter lead over the Colts on a short drop-off pass that Howard turned into a 21-yard touchdown. Howard and Carey produced four receptions and 60 yards, and the Bears had their biggest scoring output (23 points) of the season with running backs getting 21 combined touches.

In the Minnesota game the Bears ran the football 29 times and called 32 pass plays.

“I definitely didn’t think they were going to lean on me that often,” Howard admitted. “But I guess I started with the hot hand, and they just stuck with me.”

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Positive press about the Chicago Bears' offseason is having a strong impact on the jersey sales for the team's highest-profile player, Mitch Trubisky.

According to Dick's Sporting Goods, Trubisky's No. 10 is the fifth-most popular jersey among offensive players over the last 30 days. He's No. 6 among all players, regardless of position.

The Bears' offseason has been full of superlatives since their aggressive approach to free agency. The signings of Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel put the spotlight on Trubisky and the potentially surging passing game. The second-round selection of Anthony Miller and word of Kevin White's offseason emergence has turned positive momentum into higher-than-anticipated expectations for Trubisky this season.

For Chicago to have any chance at meeting those expectations, Trubisky, who's entering his first full season as a starter with a new head coach and offensive system, has to thrive. Fans must be confident that he will, considering the investment they're making in his jersey.

Trubisky ended his rookie season with four wins in 12 starts, throwing for 2,193 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He completed 59.4 percent of his passes. He should have a much more productive season in 2018 with his new arsenal of skill players and an innovative coaching staff, led by coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.

These four Bears will be featured on 'Meet the Rookies' series

These four Bears will be featured on 'Meet the Rookies' series

The Chicago Bears will kick off the fourth season of "Meet the Rookies" on June 25, a series that profiles four of the team's 2018 draft picks for a behind-the-scenes look at their journey to the NFL.

The four-episode series will air on at 7:00 p.m from June 25 - 28 and will feature one rookie per night. 

Monday's episode will cover the Bears' first-round pick, Roquan Smith. Selected with the eighth-overall pick, Smith is expected to become an instant-impact player on defense. He's expected to make an impact off the field, too, as a high-character leader. Smith's linebacker-mate Joel Iyiegbuniwe is the focus of Tuesday's episode, with Anthony Miller (Wednesday) and James Daniels (Thursday) rounding out Season 4.

For a deeper dive into what's in store in "Meet the Rookies," check out this description.