Eagles

Will Jordan Howard have a role the rest of the season?

Eagles

It turns out Jordan Howard wasn’t done after all.

Howard, 27, spent the first seven weeks of the 2021 season stuck on the Eagles’ practice squad after admitting this offseason that he feared his NFL career might be over.

If the last two weeks are any indication, Howard’s career is far from over.

In the last two games, Howard has rushed for 128 yards as the Eagles have finally established the run, ironically without their lead running back Miles Sanders, who is on Injured Reserve with an injured ankle.

Has Howard done enough to earn a role … even when Sanders returns?

“He's played really good football these last two games, sure glad we have him,” head coach Nick Sirianni said on Monday. “And, yeah, that's something that we don't have to think about right now. I'm just really in a short-term point of view and mind. That's just I think the way you have to think in this league, that you can't think about what happened in the past. You learn from it and get better from it, but you got to be in the moment.

“Miles isn't back yet, so I don't have to think about it. I got a lot of other things I got think through, right, and solve and problem solve.”

In these last two games, Howard has already more than doubled his rushing total from the 2020 season in seven combined games with the Dolphins and Eagles. After signing a contract with Miami last season, Howard averaged just 1.2 yards per carry and it looked like he was simply worn down. Just a few years after making a Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2016, many thought Howard’s career was all but over.

 

But in these last two games, he’s been running strong with fresh legs, averaging 4.4 yards per carry.

Sanders will miss at least one more game with that ankle injury. The minimum time on IR is three weeks. But he could potentially return for the Saints game at home on Nov. 21.

So Sirianni is right that he won’t have to decide just yet if Howard will have some sort of role the rest of the season.

But the Eagles will have a decision to make with Howard.

Because the last two weeks, they have used a standard elevation to bring Howard up from the practice squad to play against the Lions and Chargers. And teams are allowed to use just two standard elevations on an individual player per season. So unless the Eagles have someone go to the COVID-19 list (COVID elevations are unlimited) they’re going to have to sign Howard to the 53-man roster if they want him to play this weekend in Denver.

That seems like a no-brainer.

After watching Howard rush for 57 and 2 touchdowns against the Lions and 71 and 1 touchdown against the Chargers, they need him in this next game. Based on Sirianni’s answer on Monday, that already seems a foregone conclusion.

“He’s done a great job of carrying the football and being aggressive with the football, and offensive line has done a good job opening up holes for him,” Sirianni said.

“So, yeah, we look forward to continuing that with him, especially for this game against Denver.”

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