Running back Jordan Howard, the second-leading rusher in the NFL last season with 1,313 yards, has rushed for 59 yards on 22 carries in the first two games. But he’s among the least of offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains’ worries.
“He’s running hard. We’ve got to do a better job up front and help him,” Loggains said. “It wasn’t one guy. It was falling off a block here or there and not finishing the way we need to up front to help him.”
Howard gained seven yards on nine carries against the Buccaneers on Sunday. But he never really had a chance.
“When you get him to the second level, he’s a good back,” Loggains said. “He’s going to break tackles. It’s tough for people to tackle him for four quarters. The Atlanta game, we were much better [blocking for him] than against Tampa.”
The Bears still don’t know just how long linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski will be out with a pectoral injury he suffered against the Buccaneers, but he’s not expected back too soon.
“Believe it or not, we’re still looking at it,” coach John Fox said Wednesday morning.
What are they trying to figure out? “Just time of recovery. Severity of the injury,” Fox said.
Christian Jones is expected to start in Kwiatkoski’s place against the Steelers on Sunday.
Fox said he is hopeful that guard Kyle Long (ankle), cornerback Prince Amukamara (ankle) and wide receiver Markus Wheaton (finger) will play against the Steelers. Long and Amukamara were limited in practice Wednesday. Wheaton had full participation. All three starters have yet to play this season.
Guard Josh Sitton (rib), who was injured against the Buccaneers, did not practice, but Fox said Sitton is “doing well” and still could play.
Guard/tackle Tom Compton (hip) and third-string quarterback Mark Sanchez (neck) did not practice. Defensive end Akiem Hicks (shoulder), Howard (shoulder), wide receiver Kendall Wright (shoulder) and running back Benny Cunningham (ankle) had limited participation.
Safety Deon Bush (hamstring), who did not play against the Buccaneers, had full participation.
Rookie wide receiver Tanner Gentry cleared waivers and was signed to the practice squad. Gentry had two catches for 27 yards in his NFL debut against the Bucs.
Continuity is king
As an organization, the Steelers are known for their continuity — just three head coaches in the last 49 seasons (Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher, Mike Tomlin).
As quarterback Ben Roethlisberger noted, he has had the same quarterbacks coach for the last eight seasons — Randy Fichtner.
The Bears have had five quarterback coaches in the same span — Dave Ragone (2016-17), Loggains (2015), Matt Cavanaugh (2013-14), Jeremy Bates (2012) and Shane Day (2010-11).
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