Watching Jordan Howard in person has surprised Doug Pederson at Eagles training camp


Jordan Howard has been flying under the radar so far at Eagles practice.

Even his own coach admitted on Monday he's been "pleasantly surprised" by the fourth-year running back.

Howard is a 24-year-old former Pro Bowler who piled up over 4,000 yards from scrimmage in three years with the Bears.

He's one of only six running backs in NFL history to net 1,000 yards from scrimmage in each of his first three seasons.

He's not exactly some undrafted free agent rookie.

Yet there was Doug Pederson, admitting he’s been surprised by Howard:

Jordan, he's quiet, but yet he's a guy that asks a lot of questions on the field, in the meeting room, takes it from the meeting room to the field, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised with him. Obviously, what he's put on tape prior to coming to us is exciting, and he's fit really well.

Miles Sanders, the rookie from Penn State, has gotten a lot of hype, and he’s enjoying a good camp so far.

But don’t forget about Howard.

He averaged 1,123 rushing yards and 1,313 yards from scrimmage in his three years with the Bears, and he's got the third-most rushing yards in the NFL the last three years — behind Ezekiel Elliott and Todd Gurley.

So here’s my question to Pederson:

You didn’t go out and trade for Howard without watching tons of film. You knew what he was all about as a player. So how could he surprise you?

Interesting answer:

I think watching him, for me, I'm standing behind the offense and just watching his vision, how he can make a back-door cut. He's a bigger back, so he's able to kind of [get his] pad level down and he's powerful. He can push a pile, things like that [can be] hard to see sometimes on tape. But just standing back there watching, he has a good feel for the running back spot.

Howard said his adjustment was fairly easy, which makes sense since Bears head coach Matt Nagy and Pederson are both products of the Andy Reid coaching tree and worked together here from 2009 through 2012.

Howard is the first running back in NFL history to change teams after gaining 3,300 yards in his first three seasons. Clinton Portis went from Denver to Washington in the Champ Bailey deal after gaining 3,099 yards in his first two seasons.

It’s going pretty well, I feel like I’m going to keep improving,” Howard said after practice Monday. “My goal is to be constantly good. Looking forward to getting this stuff out of the way and playing some games.

Like Pederson said, Howard is very quiet. He's not a flashy running back. He's just one of those grinders who moves the chains. 

The Bears did make the playoffs last year, losing to the Eagles at home, but his first two years in the league, which were his best years, they went 3-13 and 5-11.

“We were losing a lot,” he said.

So combine his unassuming demeanor and the Sanders hype and it's been a quiet camp so far for Howard.

Howard seems to like it that way. He enjoys staying in the shadows until it’s go-time.

Which he can’t wait for.

There's a lot of [Eagles fans] who didn't see me very much [in Chicago]. But that's OK. We'll be playing games pretty soon and I can't wait. I'm just going to put the work in now and once we start playing, they'll see what I'm all about.

And maybe he'll have a few more pleasant surprises in store for his coach.

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