Eagles

Eagles

He won’t say it, but I can say it:

Jordan Howard needs more carries.

On the Eagles’ first drive of the second quarter Sunday, Howard got the ball on three straight plays — a pass and two runs — and netted 17 yards.

Then the Eagles ran 44 consecutive plays without Howard touching the football.

Then he got another three straight plays deep in the fourth quarter and ran for 29 more yards.

The Eagles had 10 drives in their 32-27 win over the Redskins Sunday, and Howard touched the ball on just two of them.

It was an odd Eagles debut for Howard, who got only 17 snaps — fewer than Miles Sanders (36) or Darren Sproles (23) — but made the most of them with 6-for-44 rushing and 2-for-11 receiving.

“Everybody gotta eat in the offense," he said.

You get 55 yards from scrimmage on eight touches, that’s a very efficient performance.

Howard had over 250 carries in each of the last three seasons, the first Chicago Bear to do that since Walter Payton.

He ranked third in the NFL during that span in both rushing yards (3,414) and attempts (784).

His six attempts Sunday were the second-fewest of his career. The only time he had fewer was the second game of 2016, when he had three against the Eagles at Soldier Field.

Oddly, he averaged exactly 7.33 yards per carry in both those games.

But back then Howard was an unknown rookie fifth-round pick backing up Jeremy Langford. Now he’s a Pro Bowler, a two-time 1,000-yard rusher.

Six carries isn’t enough.

 

Howard took the high road after his first game in an Eagles uniform.

Just have to be ready for your moment,” he said. “You never know when your opportunity is going to come, so you’ve just got to be ready, no matter what the situation, and just go out there.

It seems like a huge adjustment going from the 17 carries per game Howard averaged over three years in Chicago to sharing the load like this.

He says no.

“It’s not really an adjustment,” he said. “It’s something I can handle. It’s no problem, really.”

Howard even went so far as to say rotating with the other backs will extend his career.

He’s already got 850 career touches and he doesn’t turn 25 until November.

“Because my first (three) years I got a lot of carries and took a lot of hits,” he said. “Definitely prolong (my career).”

Howard ran decisively and powerfully Sunday but also looked plenty quick on his handful of carries.

While Sanders struggled a bit in his NFL debut — he had four negative runs and another for no yards — Howard moved the sticks every time he touched the ball.

He runs behind his pads, he’s low, he’s a powerful guy,” Doug Pederson said. “And quite frankly he made some catches out of the backfield, some difficult catches that were low and being able to snag the ball. This guy, we’re excited about him, we just have to keep (his carries) coming and keep him in the mix.

Pederson said he’ll continue to mix in all the backs. Corey Clement didn’t have any touches on offense Sunday and got only three snaps. But he could easily be the Eagles’ leading rusher in Atlanta.

So could Howard. So could Sproles. So could Sanders.

“We’re just going to continue to work it that way,” Pederson said. “Sometimes it’s the hot hand but sometimes it’s based on game plan and who’s in at that particular time.”

Howard’s carries will go up if he continues producing. But he sure didn’t seem upset Sunday.

Especially after the Eagles came back from 17 points down to beat the Redskins.

“It felt good,” he said. “Especially because we won. That’s my biggest thing. I wanted to win. I did not want to lose.”

Sounds like he’ll fit right in here.

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