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Nagy: Jordan Howard absolutely feature back for Bears

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After weeks of trade speculation, Jordan Howard is locked in as the Chicago Bears' lead back.

Asked Tuesday if Howard would be the team's featured running back for the upcoming season, new coach Matt Nagy replied, "Absolutely, yeah."

"That's the beauty right now of where we're at. We're very strong at that position," Nagy added. "To have (Tarik) Cohen there as well. You're seeing all of these teams that are out there right now, they're going with multiple backs.

"To sit here and say a feature back, yeah, he's going to be the guy who lines up and gets the ball. But at the same time, we're crazy if we use [just] one back. That's not going to happen. We're going to use multiple backs."

Going back to early March, an NBC Sports report claimed Howard was involved in trade talks for ex-Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry. That report further suggested Nagy and his staff have concerns about the drop-prone power back's inefficiency as a pass catcher.

At the same time, however, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport rejected the notion that Howard was on the trade block:

Nagy isn't denying that receiving ability is a weakness in Howard's game but insists the Bears can work around the problem.

"Every running back has their own strengths and weaknesses," Nagy explained Tuesday. "... Jordan has his own way of running. Anything he does that's a weakness, we're going to try to focus on that and try to get it better.

"Just because he struggles in one area -- in whatever that is that we all have -- we're going to get him better. To sit here and say he doesn't fit this offense I don't think is very fair."

Just as Howard struggles as a receiver (14 drops on 76 career targets, per Pro Football Focus), the 5-foot-6 Cohen lacks the power to sustain a ground attack between the tackles. Nagy plans to move both backs around, maximizing their value with situational concepts that play to their strengths while minimizing their weaknesses.

Among the best young tandems in the league, Howard and Cohen combined for 1,970 yards from scrimmage and a dozen touchdowns last season. As Nagy attempts to transition from rebuilding to contending, he understands his productive backfield requires tinkering as opposed to overhauling.

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