There’s plenty of time time to gush over the soon-to-be budding bromance between Matt Nagy and Mitch Trubisky, but the quarterback isn’t the only player who will love playing for his new head coach.
Has anyone stopped to consider what this could mean for Pro Bowl running back Jordan Howard?
Luckily, the only running back in Chicago Bears history to start his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons weighed in on the team’s new coach:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) January 8, 2018
“Seeing what he did in Kansas City is very exciting,” Howard said in an interview shared on the Chicago Bears’ Twitter page. “Two thousand-yard receivers, a thousand-yard running back, quarterback threw for like 4,000 yards … We’re definitely going to put up some yards and points.”
Howard doesn’t have to look too far for confirmation that Nagy’s offense can be explosive. The Chiefs averaged 28.6 points per game in the five regular season contests in which he was the team’s play caller. And while Alex Smith’s numbers down the stretch stand out, Howard should highlight what fellow running back Kareem Hunt did to finish the season strong.
In Hunt’s final four games, he was given the ball 87 times, gained 402 yards, and scored three touchdowns. That comes out to a per-game average of 22 carries and 100 yards.
(Ed. note: For the purposes of this particular post, we have discounted the numbers he posted in the season finale against the Denver Broncos when he received just one carry as the Chiefs were resting their starters.)
Hunt was the league’s leading rusher in his rookie season, gaining 1,337 yards on 272 carries. Kansas City was a perfect 6-0 when Hunt was given at least 20 carries.
Howard is probably dreaming about getting 20+ carries per game. The Indiana product has hit that magic number just 10 times in 31 games. When he gets at least 20 carries, the Bears are 8-2. And when he doesn’t? The Bears are 0-21.
Hunt did his most damage in the fourth quarter, turning 85 carries into 483 yards, and four touchdown rushes. The 5.7 yards per carry in the fourth quarter made it his most productive period. And when he was asked to salt the game away, Hunt averaged 5.8 yards per attempt on 19 rushes when the Chiefs were leading with four minutes to go or less.
Yeah, Mr. Howard is going to need to get the ball early to get him going and late to secure wins for his new head coach and play caller.