It is amazing how different the mood can be after a victory and I certainly felt more optimistic after the game versus Detroit but after the dust settled on the Bears first win of the season, one debate began rumbling away regarding the future of the Bears backfield. Rookie Jordan Howard took a promising step towards securing a more prominent role after the injuries to Jeremy Langford and Ka’deem Carey. The fifth-round rookie rushed for a 111 yards in the home win v Detroit to get the Bears up and running for the season. For those of you who don’t know I am a UK Bears fan and I was quick to jump on the Jeremy Langford hype train last season even ensuring I bought a jersey of number 33. However, I acknowledge he had a slow start to the current season and the promising rookie impressed on Sunday so what does the future hold?
Matt Forte could be argued was one of the best running backs in Chicago’s history and it since Matt Forte left in the off-season, it looked like second-year Jeremy Langford would be the feature back. Langford showed promise in his rookie season and finished with 537 yards and six touchdowns on the ground alongside 279 yards and a touchdown receiving. That was enough to earn the rookie of the year award from the Bears. However, after a slow start to the current season before getting injured against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3 and with an injury to Ka’Deem Carey it presented an opportunity for Howard and he did not disappoint in his first start. In the game versus the Detroit Lions, Howard became the first Bear to reach a 100 yards on the ground since Matt Forte in week 1 of the 2015 season against the Green Bay Packers. There is no doubt Howard has the potential to be a feature back for the franchise.
A key component of the backfield debate is the scheme John Fox wants to run. He is known as being a fan of a Running-back committee which may be best demonstrated by his time at the Denver Broncos with CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman. I don’t believe the Bears should give up on Langford and should ensure he is encorporated into the offence on his return. The reason I hope he is used as a regular part of the offence is I believe it can bring a great balance. With the speed Langford has demonstrated previously alongside the bruising element of Howard could provide a hugely effective 1-2 punch. Having more than one effective back, allows the Bears to split the carries which lowers each players workload and can help to keep players healthier which has already been a huge issue for the Bears in the current season with the roster crippled by injuries.
As a rookie in the NFL, there are two integral components to ensure you cement your place in the scheme and they are opportunity and momentum. Whilst there is only a small sample size so far, it seems Jordan Howard has all the ability to make the most of his opportunity to be the bell cow running back in the absence of Langford and Carey. Howard is currently the hot hand and if he continues to perform I believe the Bears need to ride it out whilst finding useful contributions from the others around them. Jordan Howard may be being held up as the future of the backfield but I hope it is alongside a healthy and effective Jeremy Langford to ensure the Bears can once again have a strong ground game and can also ensure my Jeremy Langford jersey remains relevant.
Follow on Twitter
Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images