ARKUSH: Whoa, hold on there, pal. We both know stats can lie, and I think yours may be telling a whopper. Howard didn't start until Week Four his rookie year. He also missed a big chunk of the Packers game at Green Bay in Week Seven, netting just seven carries. Last year he got just 13 and nine carries in Week One and Two losses to Atlanta and Tampa Bay, respectively, and then missed a chunk of the Week 11 game against the Eagles after getting just seven carries.
Take away those seven games, and his 48-154 rushing in them (almost identical to his 3.25-yard average per carry so far this year), and in Howard's 25 starts as a Bear in which he's played the whole game prior to this year, he has 480 carries for 2,281 yards (4.8 YPC) — an average of 19.2 carries a game. Drop this year's Cardinals game, when he earned 24 carries, and he's averaging just 13.2 carries a game — 31 percent less than those first 25 games. Blame who you like for the ground game's production, but Howard is getting significantly fewer chances to produce this season.
LEGERE: He’s also producing significantly less. You can’t just eliminate the one game where he got 24 carries and say he’s averaging 13.2 carries per game. By that argument, take away his 36-carry game last year against the Ravens, and he averaged just 16 carries per game for the rest of the season — one less than he’s averaging this year.
When you have skill-position players like Tarik Cohen, Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton and Allen Robinson, you’re not going to run the offense through a plow horse averaging 3.5 yards per carry. Also, when he did get 24 carries against the Cardinals this year, he averaged just 2.5 yards per carry, one of four games in which he’s averaged 3.3 yards or less per carry. I think we’re looking at the next Anthony Thomas.