2020 was not a particularly good year for anyone.
Between the global pandemic, a prolonged stretch of time without fans, and a brutal season by the Philadelphia Eagles, there wasn’t a whole lot to look forward to for fans in the City of Brotherly Love.
But do you know who had a particularly brutal 2020? That would be Jordan Howard, who signed a two-year contract with the Miami Dolphins only to be told he wasn’t a fit in the team’s offense by their OC and was released midway through the season after earning 28 carries in five games?
Need proof? Well, read the man’s words himself, as dictated by Brandon Lee Gowton from Bleeding Green Nation.
Boy oh boy, a lot to unpack there.
Why did the Dolphins sign the former Philadelphia Eagles’ RB in the first place?
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The Miami Dolphins haven’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since 2016, when eventual Philadelphia Eagles world champion Jay Ajayi ran for 1,272 in only his second professional season.
They’ve employed about a dozen running backs, allowed a few gems like Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage – seriously, check the stats – to leave midseason, and have been forced to rely on Myles Gaskin, a former seventh-round pick out of Washington, as their top running back in only his second professional season.
Let’s just say when 37-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick leads your team in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns with 243 and four respectfully in 2019, you have a serious problem moving the ball on the ground.
So naturally, with a desperate need for contributors on the ground, it makes sense that the Miami Dolphins would be on the lookout for a proven, professional rusher to get things back on track in time for rookie passer Tua Tagovailoa.
On paper, Jordan Howard fits that bill.
A power rusher who put up Ajayi-esque numbers during his time in Chicago, Howard felt like a natural fit in Brian Flores‘ offense; a 26-year-old version of LeGarrette Blount set to fill a role in a New England adjacent offense.
Hmm… didn’t Flores coach in New England? On paper, Howard would seem to be a pretty good fit in Miami, wouldn’t he?
Only that didn’t happen. Like scissors cut paper, the Dolphins cut Howard after only five appearances – with three starts – and allowed him to return to Philly with a new number and a virtually non-existent role.
Despite finding shocking success in the endzone, scoring every seventh time he touched the ball, Howard just didn’t earn consistent carries for a Dolphins offensive unit that still struggled to run the ball. He wasn’t used as a pass-catcher, a role he was surprisingly good at with the Eagles in 2019, barely saw the field as a blocker, and even saw his short-yardage role disappear from Weeks 4-8 and again in Week 10 before his release.
And what, you may ask, did the Dolphins get for their $9.75 million investment ($4.75 million guaranteed)? Well, they got 38 carries for 60 yards and four touchdowns, plus a single catch for -1 yards, and… that’s it.
In a single game, that would be an incredibly unique but ultimately admirable stat line, but over a full season? Yeah, those numbers are putrid.
Now back in the City of Brotherly Love with a chance to compete for a role and any lingering upper-body issues (presumably) in the rearview, Jordan Howard’s career with the Philadelphia Eagles- and at the NFL-level as a whole – is in his hands. He’s a fit in Nick Sirianni’s offense, the team’s most experienced power rusher, and at 26, the elder statesman of the running backs room. Is his spot on the roster guaranteed? Hardly, but after how his 2020 season turned out down in South Beach, I would imagine Howard is just happy to be here and not there.