Jordan Howard after getting 11 carries in Bears’ rout: ‘I wasn’t frustrated’
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Running back Jordan Howard swears he wasn’t angry when he declined to answer questions and left the locker room after the Bears’ 48-10 victory Sept. 30 against the Buccaneers.
‘‘I wasn’t frustrated,’’ Howard said Monday in his first comments since the game. ‘‘I was happy. We won. You see how much we won by. So there’s not really nothing to complain about. . . .
‘‘With a game like that, you don’t have nothing to complain about. You’ve just gotta be happy about a win.’’
Was Howard happy? He ran 11 times for 25 yards, marking the third consecutive game he averaged 2.5 yards per carry or less. Tarik Cohen got more carries and was more successful with them, totaling 53 yards on 13 rushes. Cohen led the Bears with 121 receiving yards on seven catches, too.
Coach Matt Nagy said he has talked with Howard about his role in the offense.
‘‘Jordan understands what we’re trying to do as a team,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘And he also understands — and we’ve talked — that he is a major part of this offense. He has a big-time role. But if it’s an advantage to us to go a different direction for that game or for that play or that series, we’re going to do that. As long as our guys understand that, we’ll be in good shape.
‘‘And Jordan is good with that. He understands it. Again, it’s just one of those games where he wasn’t a featured guy. But collectively — forget the offense — the team played well. That’s what’s most important for all of us.’’
Nagy was willing to entertain the possibility that Howard’s emotions got the best of him after the game.
‘‘Anybody that’s in this room and has played in a sport . . . immediately after the game, your emotions are rolling,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘And that’s no excuse for any reason, but it’s a tough time.’’
Through games Sunday, Howard was tied for 12th in the NFL with 64 carries but tied for 28th with 203 rushing yards.
Howard said he was happy for Cohen’s success, but Cohen said he didn’t ‘‘feel like it’s my place’’ to talk with Howard about usage.
‘‘We just go how the game goes,’’ Cohen said. ‘‘The majority of the games, he gets more workload than I do. He understands some games are different.’’
Nagy said the Bears’ game-plan-specific approach doesn’t run counter to his claim that Howard can be a three-down back.
‘‘If we want to put [Howard] in the game and use him for a certain advantage, we’ll do that — and that could be first, second or third down,’’ he said. ‘‘There’s other times where it doesn’t fit that way. It just so happened this past game that, you know, Tarik got more plays in regards to getting the ball to him. And he was productive.
‘‘But that has nothing to do with what Jordan Howard is doing. Jordan Howard is a big part of this offense, and I think that for us to continue to keep trying to grow, everybody in this offense has a role. This is not going to be an offense where it’s just one person and it goes through one person. I don’t necessarily believe in that. It’s great when you have everybody fulfilling different roles, and it’s hard for the defense when you do that.’’
Howard agreed, listing the five players who scored touchdowns in the Bears’ blowout victory. He praised quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s performance, too, saying the offense was ‘‘getting better and better each week.’’
Does he think there will be a game when he’ll be the star?
‘‘It’s not my job to worry about that,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s just my job to go out there and play and do the best I can to help the team out.’’