Eduardo Monk, Jr.: Jordan Howard
To be honest, it hasn’t been the prettiest season for the Bears in terms of star talent. The defense is beginning to make a name for itself but there isn’t a flashy superstar in sight. The offense has been dreadful all year outside of the run game. Which leads to my next point, Jordan Howard has been the best player for the Bears through the first half of the season. He’s fourth in the league with 662 rushing yards and tied for sixth in the league with four touchdowns, including the overtime winner against the Steelers.
Howard is quickly flourishing into one of the brightest young players in the league has to offer. He is both the fuel and the oil that keeps this offense churning despite its usual incompetence and because of that, deserves to bring in midseason MVP honors.
Jake Brend: Jordan Howard
Where would the Bears be without Howard? That is something to not think about. Howard is fifth in the NFL in rushing with 662 yards. With the loss of Alshon Jeffery in the offseason and the lack of a receiving core for Mitch Trubisky, Howard has clearly been the best weapon for the Bears this season.
Rico Gutierrez: The Defense
Chicago’s defense is putting up some fantastic numbers. Kudos to Vic Fangio and company for putting this group of guys together. So far they have double the amount of INT for TD compared to 2016 and are on track to at least match the 8 INT total from last year. Going into Week 9, the Bears defense was tied for 1st in fumble recoveries, tied for 2nd in INT return for TD’s, 3rd in INT return yards, and 4th in 3-and-out %, and at one point they went 13 quarters with only allowing 2 offensive touchdowns. Keep in mind this was the hardest part of their schedule, so that is very impressive. Even though the season is not over, this Bears defense has carried this Chicago team and has definitely been mostly responsible for the Bear’s wins this year. According to Chicago Bears statistics, it’s possible the Bears will have two defensive players with 10+ sacks since the 1985 Super Bowl Season.
Deshawn Jackson: Jordan Howard
While his overall numbers are down from an outstanding rookie year, Jordan Howard is still the best, most productive player on this offense. He leads the team with 740 yards from scrimmage, and his 4.1 yards per carry is impressive considering he’s faced a lot of 8 man boxes and has had little help from his QB or the playcalling. Howard leads the 6th ranked rushing offense, despite the team being dead last in the passing game. His average yards per carry goes up to 4.65 in the three Bears wins, includes a game-winning TD in overtime to beat the Steelers and a huge 53-yard run to help set up the game-winning FG in Baltimore.
Justin Boyd: Jordan Howard
This one is the toughest award because I could make a list of 3-5 players that I think deserve this, but one player who I’ve already mentioned has done what it takes week in and week out, carried the team on its back when needed, and simply made plays even when the defense knew he would get the ball. Might sound familiar from earlier but none other than Jordan Howard. This could be left unsaid, but the 5th round gem makes this offense elite once we fill out Wide Receiver woes.
Tyler Kading: Jordan Howard
There’s just no escaping the fact that Jordan Howard has, once again, carried the Bears this season. Howard has doubled down on his impressive rookie season with a year where he has escaped the dreaded “sophomore slump”, with the 5th most rushing yards of anyone in the league so far this season. While he has regressed by over a yard per carry, the Bears inept passing offense has caused him to face strong boxes.
Howard’s most impressive showing of the season was in the Bears’ victory over the Steelers, where Howard gained 140 yards facing mostly 9-man boxes.
John Fox has been scheming around the quarterback so far this season, and Howard has had to pick up the slack a lot this season, so his falling numbers are not a concern at all. Howard has also had to deal with what seems like a bit of an offensive line regression and is still looking like an all-pro running back.
You can obsess over Mitchell Trubisky all you want, but for right now, this is Jordan Howard’s team. And I’m not sure he lets the kid take the reins anytime soon.