I found myself stumbling down a YouTube rabbit hole of Chicago Bears highlights when this breakdown of Jordan Howard caught my eye:
While Howard doesn’t possess game-changing breakaway speed, he still has the ability to move up the field quickly, power through guys, and make tackles. Howard’s 3.7 yards after contact led his draft class, and that carried over into 3.0 yards after contact and 40 broken tackles as a rookie. Tom Thayer’s analysis in his playbook highlights how Howard gets it all done.
The Bears are going to need a lot more of that in 2017 if the offense is going to have balance and success in its second season under Dowell Loggains.
- ESPN.com’s Stats & Information research staff dug up a bunch of statistical nuggets on Bears legend George Halas, who retired as head coach 49 years ago yesterday. Only a handful of coaches have will be found atop of the professional coaching leaderboard with Halas, whose 318 wins and 170 games above .500 are second only to Don Shula. His six NFL titles are tied with Curly Lambeau for the most in NFL history, with Bill Belichick closing in with five. Belichick, who has the most wins of any active coach with 237, could win 10 games per season over the next eight years and still have fewer wins than Halas. How crazy is that?
- Moving back into present day matters, Bleacher Report’s Sean Tomlinson ranks each team’s best offseason move … and considering the Bears’ busy offseason, Tomlinson had plenty to choose from for this list. Of all the moves that have transpired this offseason, Tomlinson chose the Bears’ drafting of tight end Adam Shaheen in the second round as the best. Citing the Bears’ place in the rebuild process and the need to add as much young, high-upside talent as possible, Tomlinson believes Shaheen can be a pillar of the team’s offense in years to come. And if the 6-foot-6, 278-pound tight end becomes that, we might come back to the 2017 NFL Draft and see it differently than we did on draft weekend.
- In Saturday’s Bullets, we briefly glanced at where some Bears players ranked among fantasy football’s top players for the 2017 season. However, we should note some risk with running back Jordan Howard, who is the Bears’ best offensive player and a fantasy darling after producing a 1,313-yard rushing season that culminated with a Pro Bowl appearances. Brandon Marianne Lee of Pro Football Focus lists Howard as one of the 10 players to be wary of this fantasy season. With a full year of tape and a questionable passing game, teams are better prepared to stop Howard in 2017 than they were in 2016, giving some fantasy owners flashbacks to Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams last season.
- Also on the fantasy wire, two Bears receivers show up on Pro Football Weekly’s list of familiar faces at the wide receiver spot who are in new places in 2017. Free agent additions Kendall Wright and Markus Wheaton are among the deepest of sleepers entering the 2017 season. With Cameron Meredith emerging as the top target for Mike Glennon, Wright and Wheaton could conceivably have an inside track on the No. 2 spot – especially if Kevin White misses any time because of injuries. Both Wright and Wheaton are on short-term deals, and both are looking to bounce back and round into form. Buyer beware, there is limited upside in receivers beyond Meredith. Bears quarterbacks attempted 559 passes in 2016, the 11th fewest in all of football. And if Jordan Howard is going to have an increased role in 2017, that means fewer opportunities for the Bears’ pass catchers.
- Around The NFL writer Conor Orr believes the NFC North has the potential to produce three playoff teams and two 10-win squads in the year to come. Unfortunately, the Bears aren’t a candidate for either in Orr’s eyes. Orr ranks each of the NFL’s divisions based on competitiveness, and the NFC North comes in sixth. Only the NFC West and AFC East are seen as less competitive than the NFC North, which has been owned by the Green Bay Packers for quite some time. The Detroit Lions (a playoff team in 2016) and Minnesota Vikings (who actually won the NFC North in 2015) are viewed as the division’s other contenders.