Chicago Bears’ new look may bring wins down the road

Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

In a season that started out awful, the Chicago Bears may have come up with some players who will move up and give the team a new look.

The Chicago Bears stumbled out of the gate to start the 2016 season. After a quarter of the season completed, they have just one win, and they got that win this past Sunday.

The Bears are plagued with injuries and bad play. There are players on the field who are just over-matched. Head coach John Fox needed to flip the roster and put in players who can give the team a chance to win.

One of the moves that Fox had to make was inserting Jordan Howard at the starting running back position. Howard started the season behind Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey, but he is playing well, and with the ankle injury to Langford and Carey’s hamstring trouble keeping them off the field, Howard got his shot as the starting back.

Howard made the best of his first NFL start. He rushed for 111 yards on 23 carries. His 4.8 yards per carry was excellent, relieving some pressure from the passing game. He also did well with his blocking.

Some were surprised that the Chicago Bears drafted Howard, who came out of Indiana University, even though they had Langford and Carey. Langford does not seem to have the confidence of the coaching staff, and this injury gives Howard a shot, and gives Fox a reason to replace Langford.

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“Jordan is a big back, and we knew that when he came out of Indiana University,” Fox said. “The thing we didn’t know is the quickness of his feet and the vision he has. I think he’s outstanding, and we will ride him pretty good moving forward.”

Another player who stepped up with his shot was Brian Hoyer.

Over the course of his career, Hoyer started a good deal of games. He won the starting quarterback job with the Houston Texans last season and led them to a playoff berth, though he and the Texans were thoroughly embarrassed in the first round of the playoffs.

Hoyer will not wow anyone with his abilities, but he is a solid, albeit average player. He is the epitome of an excellent backup, and against the Detroit Lions on Sunday he did what he had to do to get the victory.

‘‘My role is to do whatever is asked of me,’’ said Hoyer, who was 28-for-36 for 302 yards, two touchdowns and a 120.1 passer rating.

‘‘Today, I’m going to enjoy the victory. Whatever they say to me [Monday], then that’s what I’m going to prepare to do. That’s being a professional about it.

‘‘That’s one thing I’ve learned through the tough situations that I’ve been through: Just be a pro. Whatever they ask of me, that’s what I’m paid to do, and that’s what I’m going to go out there and do.’’

Just as Howard’s play gives Fox a reason to replace Langford, Hoyer’s play gives Fox a reason to keep Jay Cutler on the bench.

When asked about Cutler returning as the starter once he is over his sprained thumb, Fox said there were no givens.

Cutler’s supporters talk about his abilities, but those abilities resulted in just one playoff win. He is 33 years old and has a career losing record. His guaranteed money is paid, so the Bears could cut their ties with him without taking a hit anymore.

In his last game, Cutler did the same things that frustrates fans to no end. He threw a horrible interception, and while he was getting sacked, he was still trying to throw the ball, which resulted in a lost fumble.

Hoyer has his limitations, but he will not continually make the bone-headed mistakes. He is not the answer for the future, but he can be a bridge for the Bears’ next quarterback.

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With Brian Hoyer, the Chicago Bears may have a bridge to the future. With Jordan Howard, they may have their next great back. Hopefully, soon, those players can help the franchise achieve some wins sooner than later.