Jordan Howard enters the 2020 season as the feature back on his third NFL team in his fifth year in the league. With back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons to start his career, things haven’t gone quite as well in the last couple of season as he was ousted by Tarik Cohen in 2018, and was the victim of a running-back-by-committee in Philly.
But now Howard finds himself atop the Dolphins running backfield, and the de facto first and second-down back. With Matt Brieda set to have a third-down, receiving-situation role, Jordan Howard looks set to get the majority of the carries behind a rebuilt offensive line.
After joining the Dolphins, Howard told Omar Kelly, “I felt like we can turn things around down here and I wanted to be a part of that. I was part of a turn around in Chicago, so I embrace those types of things.” So just how integral will Jordan Howard be to the Dolphins second-year of the rebuild.
Jordan Howard workhorse?
Much in the same wheelhouse as Jay Ajayi, Jordan Howard is a power back with breakaway speed who can quickly amass yards, and points. But in Chan Gailey’s heavy RPO offense, is he the ideal kind of back. His career receiving numbers, 82-637-2, don’t make particularly exciting reason
PFF have graded Howard sub-par receiving but a very good pass-blocker, so his snaps on first and second down should have a high ceiling, and he has third-down potential more for his blocking than his receiving unless he shows improvement in 2020. With Brieda on the team, Howard likely has a higher percentage of snaps in close games, than if the Dolphins get behind by multiple scores.
While it’s easy for fans to get a little carried away with the new pieces, especially skill positions, Jordan Howard’s ceiling likely isn’t as high as some others are predicting. However, despite sharing the running snaps, his career 4.3-ypc has shown no signs of slippage.
In 2019 the Dolphins had 307 running snaps, with Kalen Ballage topping the list with just 73 attempts. It’s a very safe bet that Jordan Howard will obliterate that. The Dolphins offense is expected to be much improved this season, so there is a chance the snaps go up, but that being the case Matt Brieda and Kalen Ballage will also take their slices.
But if we assume roughly the same number of overall team carries, we expect Howard will get 50%-60% of them. That’s 150-180 rush attempts for Jordan Howard over the course of 2020, and at his career average that would net him in the range of 645-774 yards. However, given the improvements in the offense, and the new Chan Gainley schemes, we going a little higher with Jordan Howard and going just above the top end at 800 yards.
So that’s what we at Aqua Thirteen think is in store for Jordan Howard in 2020, but what do you think? Let us know in the comments below.