Among the collection of shit that piles in every week concerning our Chicago Bears, one of the more popular complaints is the recent use of Jordan Howard. He’s currently hovering around 16 carries per game, a low number considering he’s virtually the only bright spot on an offense that functions about as well as Yahoo’s data security systems. While I understand the frustration that goes along with watching this dumpster fire of a team every week, it makes no sense to waste a young running back’s carries on this putrid season.
There’s only one grueling week left, and I would be happy with Jordan Howard sitting out against the Vikings on New Year’s Day. Running backs have the shelf life of bananas. They deteriorate faster than any other position on the field. We’ve all seen the production line graphs showing a Mt. Everest-like decline when the horses in the backfield hit 30 years old. Howard’s clock has started ticking in terms of the number of useful carries he has left in his career, and I’d rather those carries actually mean something.
I’m throwing out the whole ‘tanking’ narrative because in this situation it’s not relevant. This is about keeping one of your young starters healthy for as long as possible, playing in as many meaningful games as possible. With the way Howard runs, he might have a shorter career than most backs, especially if the Bears rely on him to win games in the future. So yes, if he’s not alongside his terrible teammates for a meaningless game against the Vikings, I will applaud the Bears for doing the right thing.