Adam L. Jahns’ “Read Options” column appears in Pro Football Weekly, which is available Thursday or Friday in the Chicago Sun-Times, Daily Herald, Rockford Register Star, Northwest Herald, Kankakee Daily Journal, Peoria Journal Star and on ProFootballWeekly.com.
So much for that wave of running backs the Bears promised to have. Their running-back-by-committee started and ended with Jeremy Langford in Houston.
And he wasn’t happy with his performance.
“I left a lot of yards out there on the table,” said Langford, who had 57 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries in the Bears’ 23-14 loss to the Texans. “I could have made a lot more out of the carries that I did have.”
Coach John Fox felt so, too. He said the offensive line “blocked up some runs pretty well” against the Texans.
“That’s not an easy defense to run against,” Fox said. “But there were some yards
there – yards after contact.”
Because of that, it will be interesting to see how the carries play out Monday night against the Eagles at Soldier Field. Langford can turn his speed into power, but Ka’Deem Carey and Jordan Howard provide more physicality from the start.
The Bears rotated possessions last year between Langford and Matt Forte. But that was after Langford emerged and earned former offensive coordinator Adam Gase’s backing. Carey and Howard need to emerge in Dowell Loggains’ offense. Neither player saw a first-team snap in the preseason.
Against the Texans, Langford was on the field for 54 of 56 offensive plays. Carey got only two offensive snaps with one carry. Howard was the only active player not to take the field against the Texans, aside from backup quarterback Brian Hoyer.
There might be more room to run against the Eagles. Browns running back Isaiah Crowell ran for 62 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries in Week 1 against them.
One more week of work behind center Cody Whitehair and guard Josh Sitton will help the backfield, too.
But will Langford capitalize this time?
“Once I get into the open field, I have to do a better job of getting those yards after contact and getting yards on my own,” Langford said.
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Where was Zach’s attack? Receiver Kevin White’s low output in Houston deserves attention, but so does tight end Zach Miller’s.
Miller made three catches on four targets for 14 yards. One of his receptions came on a screen play in the fourth quarter.
When the Texans pass rush picked up in the second half, Miller didn’t become a quick option for quarterback Jay Cutler.
It’s too early to worry, but the Bears’ offense requires more from Miller, who missed the preseason with a concussion, to function.
Miller is the Bears’ best all-around tight end. And he needs to be establish himself as an option for Cutler in the early going, especially with White looking as if he’ll need more time to acclimate himself.
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Cornerback Kyle Fuller shouldn’t be guaranteed a starting spot when he returns. It will be in the Bears’ best interests to make him earn it back.
Fuller’s uneven play has led to doubts at Halas Hall. His study habits and confidence level also have come into question.
Benching Fuller and making him beat out Jacoby Glenn and rookie Deiondre’ Hall might be the final motivation that’s needed to turn the former first-round pick into a trustworthy player.