ATM: Bears Should Target Spencer Ware

| March 5th, 2019

A 230-pound back with 4.6 speed isn’t what most fans are dreaming of this offseason. But Spencer Ware, a sixth-round pick by Seattle in 2013, could be the perfect fit for the 2019 Chicago Bears.

At this point in his career, Ware is known as a backup, but he once earned Kansas City’s starting job by rushing for 403 yards  — 5.6 per carry — and six touchdowns in 2015. He held the starting job in 2016, making 14 starts and totaling 1,368 yards from scrimmage; more than Jordan Howard has managed each of the last two years. He was poised to start for the Chiefs again in 2017 before a preseason injury knocked him out and Kareem Hunt exploded. Ware reemerged late last season, rushing for 122 yards in two starts before another injury knocked him out until the playoffs.

With Damien Williams performing well in the playoffs, Ware will likely be looking elsewhere for a chance to compete for a starting gig. Where better than Chicago? On paper, he may not seem like an upgrade over Howard, and he may not be a better overall runner, but Ware can simply do things that Howard can’t. These are the things the Bears need their running backs to be able to do.

Howard excelled early in his career at running outside zone plays, cutting up the field, against the grain. With Nagy’s inside zone scheme, the Bears are asking Howard to do the opposite, to be able to take inside runs outside and he simply hasn’t done it effectively.

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ATM: Out of the Hunt. So Now What?

| February 13th, 2019

The Chicago Bears won’t be signing Kareem Hunt. The great debate ended before the offseason officially began, as the former Kansas City Chiefs running back, facing disciplinary action from the league for a history of violent behavior, signed with the Browns. Time will tell if he’s worth the trouble for Cleveland, but the Bears still need to add some explosiveness to their backfield if they hope to improve their run game.

Because while Jordan Howard is a good player, the Bears simply need more. Forget for a second his sub-4.0 yards per carry number. The Bears offense just didn’t function well with him on the field.

  • According to NFGSIS, the team averaged 4.78 yards per play in the five most frequently used lineups in which Howard was used.
  • In the five most-used lineups that didn’t include Howard, they averaged 6.8 yards per play.
  • The big difference came in the passing game, where they averaged 7 yards per pass play without Howard and 4.92 with him.

Matt Nagy seems to know it too. In the playoff game he used a formation with three wide receivers, one tight end and Cohen over Howard 21 times. Their next most-used formation was used five times, that also didn’t have Howard in it. Howard played just 22 snaps — 34% of the team’s total — against the Eagles. From a football perspective, signing Hunt would’ve been the easy move, but not one the Bears could make without knowing his availability. Now, they have to figure out something else.

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