Although Jordan Howard had only 11 rushing attempts in the Bears' last game, coach Matt Nagy reiterated this week that the third-year pro remains a big part of the offense.
Nagy stressed that the roles of running backs Howard and Tarik Cohen will change on a weekly basis depending on the game plan and opponent.
The Bears employed Cohen to take advantage of favorable matchups against the Buccaneers Sept. 30 at Soldier Field, and he responded by rushing for 53 yards on 13 carries and catching seven passes for a career-high 121 yards and one touchdown.
Cohen had more touches than Howard in the game (20-11) for the first time this season. In the first three contests, Howard had 12, 12 and 18 more touches than Cohen.
"It just so happened this past game that Tarik got more plays in regards to getting the ball to him and was productive," Nagy said. "But that has nothing to do with what Jordan Howard is doing. Jordan Howard is a big part of this offense and I think that for us to continue to keep trying to grow, everybody in this offense has a role.
"This is not going to be an offense where it's just one person and it goes through one person. I don't necessarily believe in that. It's great when you have everybody fulfilling different roles and it's hard for the defense when you do that."
When Howard declined to speak to the media after the Buccaneers game, some reporters assumed he was upset with his role in the game. But he refuted that notion Monday.
"No, I wasn't frustrated," Howard said. "I was happy. We won. You see how much we won by, so there's not really [anything] to complain about."
Nagy told reporters that he has discussed the situation with Howard.
"Jordan understands what we're trying to do as a team," Nagy said. "And he also understands—and we've talked—that he has a major part of this offense. He has a big-time role. But if it's an advantage to us to go a different direction for that game or for that play or that series, we're going to do that.
"As long as our guys understand that, we'll be in good shape. And Jordan is good with that. He understands it. And again, it's just one of those games where he wasn't a featured guy. But collectively as a team—forget the offense—the team played well. That's what's most important for all of us."