Matt Nagy: Jordan Howard still 'big part' of offense

Exiting the bye week, one question in Chicago is what role running back Jordan Howard will have in Matt Nagy's offense moving forward.

The running back has seen his role reduced each week and has struggled to churn out consistent yards since the season-opener. After an 82-yard outing on 15 totes (5.5 YPC) in Week 1, Howard toted 49 times for just 121 yards in the next three tilts, a 2.47 YPC average.

In the blowout win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4, Howard played just 30 snaps, and earned just 11 carries and no receptions as Nagy elected to use the shiftier Tarik Cohen more profusely.

Some viewed Cohen's usage as a shift in dynamics, with the Bears offense exploding for the first time by taking advantage of the speedy running back's mismatches. Nagy, however, pumped the brakes on making any pervasive proclamations about Howard's role.

"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," Nagy Monday, via ESPN.com. "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."

Looking at how the Kansas City Chiefs employ their backfield is generally constructive considering Nagy is an Andy Reid disciple. While Kareem Hunt is a better pass-catcher than Howard, each shares the ability to pound the ball up the gut when asked. When Hunt started the season off somewhat slow, there was no panic in K.C. Such as it should be in Chicago.

Perhaps Howard won't get 20-plus carries a game as he did under the previous regime, but it doesn't mean he's chopped liver -- even if fantasy football fans hate the explanation.

Offensive diversity is a great thing for a Bears team that too often in the past was a one-dimensional dud. When the cold falls over Chicago in the coming months, and the wind is whipping the ball around, Howard will have his days in the sun.

For his part, the running back brushed aside the chatter about his role like it was a single leaf falling harmlessly from a tree.

"With a game like that, you don't have anything to complain about," Howard said. "You just got be happy about a win.

"No, I wasn't frustrated. I was happy. We won. You see how much we won by. So there's not really nothing to complain about."

If the biggest question moving forward for Chicago turns out to be about Howard's role, Nagy will be sitting pretty.

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