Analysis Bears News/Notes

Bears: Poor Play Calling Leading to Jordan Howard’s Recent Struggles

Jordan Howard was the second-leading rusher in the NFL in 2016, so what is causing his recent sub-par performances?

The Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains has been under heavy scrutiny in 2017 and deservedly so.

His play calling and personnel decisions have been downright ugly at times. Could Loggains be in over his head? At this point, it seems more likely than not. Remember, Adam Gase was the offensive coordinator before leaving after the 2015 season to become the Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins.

The Bears made a surprising move by promoting Loggains to replace Gase as the offensive coordinator. Most expected the team to explore other options, which included going outside the organization to find an experienced offensive mind. It’s uncertain who made the move, but both General Manager Ryan Pace and Head Coach John Fox both deserve blame in this situation.

Rookie’s Tarik Cohen and Adam Shaheen continue to be used incorrectly. Cohen, who is obviously the Bears best playmaker, is underutilized. While Shaheen is being out-snapped by Dion Sims, who has trouble catching the football and running routes downfield. Loggains inconsistent coaching is now starting to affect the second year running back Jordan Howard.

Loggains inconsistent coaching is now starting to affect Jordan Howard, the team’s number one running back.

Howard is a workhorse. He proved that last year after he finished second in the NFL in rushing yards behind only Ezekiel Elliott. People forget that Howard didn’t start until week five last season despite clearly being the team’s best back. Instead, Loggains decided to make another great personnel decision by making Jeremy Langford the starter.

Like 2016, Howard got off to a great start in 2017. Over his last two games, Howard has rushed for just six and 38-yards respectively. Rushing for just 38-yards against one of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL (San Francisco) is not good. There is plenty of blame to go around. The offensive line has been inconsistent this season, but it seems to be the play calling that is hurting Howard more than anything.

For whatever reason, the Bears seem to be running mostly stretch plays to the outside with Howard. There are many problems with this, but the most obvious being that Howard is a north to south runner, not east to west. So, what the hell is Loggains thinking? That’s a great question.

Here’s a perfect example of what I mean by “stretch plays.”

Notice how Howard is forced to take 10-15 steps before even being at the line of scrimmage. Now, let’s see when Howard is successful.

Below, we have Howard running inside and taking a maximum of five steps before reaching the line of scrimmage.

We can see something similar in the video below.

Again, the run was inside and Howard wasn’t forced to take a bunch of steps before reaching the line of scrimmage. These kinds of plays put Howard and the beat-up offensive line in the best position to have success. Yet, for two straight weeks, the Bears have tried running these gimmick like stretch plays.

K.Y.P- KNOW YOUR PERSONNEL. Clearly, Loggains has trouble with this very important skill.

If the Bears want to win another game before the end of this miserable season, they need to get back to Howard and his strengths. Coaching in the NFL matters more than any other professional sport. By now, it should be obvious that the Bears need a change in this department. Hopefully, moves will be made at the end of the season because it’s obvious that they are needed.


Nick is a recent graduate of Northern Illinois University and passionate about everything Chicago sports (except the Cubs). He has run his own website, been featured on Bleacher Report, and tried to sell his soul on eBay (which he hasn’t gotten back). He hopes to one day see his beloved Bears win the Super Bowl and is still trying to figure out why Jay Cutler gets so much hate.

1 comment on “Bears: Poor Play Calling Leading to Jordan Howard’s Recent Struggles

  1. As I read your article I found myself thinking that it’s the same things i’ve been thinking. Now, if it is that obvious to us why is it not obvious to the Bears management. My assessment is we don’t have a TEAM off the field (coaches, assistants, GM, etc.), that are on the same page. GM making moves that the head coach doesn’t know about (until after the fact). If we are going to get to enjoy our team, on the field, then the off the field group needs to get it together. Sorry to many egos to pet for that to happen. Sooooo sad. Bear fan since the early 1960’s.

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