After surprising coordinator, Bears’ Jordan Howard nears record
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As a kid, Jordan Howard idolized LaDainian Tomlinson.
In college, he switched to Marshawn Lynch.
“How difficult it was to bring him down,” he said.
The switch is indicative of the rookie’s running style — and, perhaps, his NFL success. Howard needs 61 yards Sunday against the Vikings to break Matt Forte’s Bears rookie rushing record, which sits at 1,238.
Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said Thursday he didn’t grasp Howard’s talent until, perhaps, Week 3 against the Cowboys. The reason, he said: Howard’s physical rushing style translated to games better than practices.
“I’m gonna be real honest when I say this: I didn’t see the greatness in Jordan in OTAs and training camp,” Loggains said. “Part of it was because he was hurt. Part of it is because he’s a much better play when the shoulder pads are on and it’s live — because he’s a big back and he’s hard to tackle. …
“His running style is different. It’s sometimes hard to see that, where you can see other guys’ quickness and stuff like that show up. You don’t get to see the vision, because it’s not live.”
Loggains said Howard’s biggest area of growth is his ability to read where linebackers fit in against run blocks. Howard said he’ll try to improve route-running and focus this offseason.
Before then, though, is Sunday’s chance at the record. Howard said it means a lot to him, but also his linemen.
He’ll get them end-of-year thank-you gifts, too — despite being on a rookie, late-round budget.
“I definitely need to get that figured out pretty soon,” he said.