4 players to watch vs. Buccaneers – Chicago Bears News

4 players to watch vs. Buccaneers – Chicago Bears News

Larry Mayer and Eli Kaberon of ChicagoBears.com discuss the Bears players they’ll be watching on both sides of the ball in Sunday’s road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Mayer

Offense: Running back Jordan Howard

Jordan Howard

Bears running back Jordan Howard.

The Bears intend to operate a run-oriented offense, which means continuing to rely on Howard, who finished second in the NFL in rushing last season with 1,313 yards, a Bears rookie record. The 2016 fifth-round pick only had moderate success in last Sunday’s season-opening loss to the Falcons, rushing for 52 yards on 13 carries and catching three passes for 14 yards.

Howard led the Bears with seven touchdowns last season and scored their first one this year on a 4-yard run against the Falcons. But the running back also dropped a pass at the 1-yard line in the final seconds of the game with the Bears needed a touchdown to win, though it appeared he would not have scored had he caught the ball.

Howard’s availability for Sunday’s game in Tampa is uncertain, however, given that he’s listed as questionable with a shoulder injury he sustained versus Atlanta. But coach John Fox said early in the week that he was not concerned about Howard’s injury and reiterated that stance Friday, reporting that the running back has “had a good week of preparation, albeit limited.”

Howard rushed for 100 yards on just 15 carries last Nov. 13 in a 36-10 loss to the Buccaneers in Tampa. It was one of seven 100-yard games during his rookie season.

Defense: Defensive end Akiem Hicks

Akiem Hicks

Bears defensive end Akiem Hicks.

After stints with the Saints and Patriots, Hicks has seemingly found a home with…

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