The trade of Jordan Howard drew the Ire of many of his fans. However, the writing has been on the wall for Howard since the hire of Matt Nagy really. There was no way Howard was going to get extended and be here beyond the 2019 season. The high flying Nagy offense is not looking for a 4-yards and a cloud of dust running game to compliment their passing game.
It’s clear the Bears blocking scheme made some concessions to fit Howard’s style. They lined up in far more man/power sets than they would have liked. This team wants to take advantage of the RPO game, Run more stretch zone without having to substitute and use their back as a weapon in the passing game. It’s clear Howard wasn’t going to fit in with that philosophy.
This was the best thing for both parties. For Howard, he is on a team that clearly wants to feature him otherwise, why trade for him? Philadelphia head coach Doug Peterson knows what Howard brings to the table as both a player and a teammate. Especially, coming from his good friend Nagy.
It’s also a lot less likely Peterson would do anything shady in order to prevent the Bears getting a 5th rd. Pick. Meaning they’re going to rely heavily on their new young power back this season. Thus, taking advantage of Howard’s walk season status. Howard is going to be plenty motivated.
The real question about all this is why does Peterson like Howard so much? Nagy and Peterson come from the same background. Perhaps the Eagles line profiles best as a man power line rather than zone. It is for the most part an older line with a lot of mileage. Their youngest linemen Left Tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai is a 320 pound brute. Their second youngest linemen Right Tackle Lane Johnson is 28, but is going into year seven and battled a sprained MCL for most of 2018 missing 3-4 games because of it. Their athleticism isn’t what it used to be.
I think they’ll still run a lot of inside zone but stretch zone is probably not going to get as much play as it once had is my calculated guess. Howard is pretty good with the inside zone game. So long as he’s banging inside the A gaps and occasional B gaps he’ll be in his element. You may see a philosophy shift in how the Eagles use their running game. We’ll soon see what plan they have for Howard.
For Howard, it gives him a chance to be used as he is intended and that’s as a high volume load power back. This will obviously give Howard a chance to have a statistically good season and get a nice 2nd contract.
For the Bears, it gives them a valuable asset in a late possibly mid round pick to either use to draft a player 2 years from now, or to use as a trade asset to possibly move up in this year’s draft without losing a pick this season. Perhaps it could get them into the second round traded along with their 87th overall pick. It also opens up more snaps for other running backs on the roster &/or in this year’s draft.
Bears fans may not like this deal because Howard is such a good dude as much as it is because of his abilities. It’s also probably hard for some of the hard boiled old heads to not have that power running game they’re so used to seeing around theses parts. However, if Nagy’s offense produces a lot of explosive plays to replace those 4-yard taffy pulls I’m pretty sure they’ll learn to do like Princess Elsa and, “let it go.”