The fourth-year running back has received some warm welcomes from his new teammates, and his former teammate Kyle Long even reached out to make sure the Eagles’ offensive line took care of a guy who was appreciated both on and off the field.
Howard has his introductory press conference in Philadelphia on Monday, and this is what he had to say:
He opened by thanking Howie Roseman, Coach Pederson and Jeff Lurie for bringing him into the Eagles organization, and he’s excited to be a part of the team.
On the trade
Howard said it wasn’t really a surprise that he was going to be traded, he was just waiting to see when and to where. He was relieved that it finally happened, partially because he was sick of hearing from people about speculating what might happen.
He did say that he pretty much knew the Eagles were going to be the landing spot as far out as a month before the trade based on what his agent was telling him, he just didn’t know when specifically it would go down.
Later, he said he wasn’t really sure why the Bears wanted to trade him, just that they made the decision to move on and he can’t be mad or have hard feelings about that. He emphasized this even later, as well, saying he’s got nothing bad to say about the franchise and that they’re definitely a team on the come up.
On the Eagles and his role
Howard said that he knows the Eagles are a hungry franchise and have hungry fans.
He talked about how a lot of players have already reached out to him, including his former teammate Alshon Jeffery (who he spent time with on Sunday) and former college teammate Nate Sudfeld who told him how much he would enjoy playing for Philadelphia.
Howard joked that Jeffery didn’t really have to tell him much about Carson Wentz and the offensive options they have, and that he’s seen Wentz play and he’s an MVP caliber player when he’s on top of his game.
He says that the Eagles have a very good system, and they have so many offensive options that it’ll be hard for opposing defense to stop them this fall.
Howard agreed that having so many weapons on the outside, including DeSean Jackson, will open up options in the run game because they wont be able to load the box up.
He was asked about whether he’s the type of back that needs to get into a rhythm and how he’ll handle working within a rotation with maybe fewer carries. Howard noted that he wouldn’t really say he needs to get into a rhythm, he just needs a few touches early on to get a feel for the game — like any running back — but that he’s here to do whatever the team needs him to to help them win games.
The running back said he’s comfortable running different formations, and that his career stats so far just show that he’s consistent and reliable. He hasn’t sat down and talked about his specific role in the system yet, though.
On his career so far
He talked about how he personally had a lot of success his rookie season, but overall they only won three games so it wasn’t a lot of fun. Howard said last year was probably the most fun he’s had so far in the NFL, because of the team’s success — which he clearly values over his personal accomplishments.
He described his playing style as rugged and physical, saying he definitely likes setting a tone. Howard said he’s a blue-collar player and this is a blue-collar city.
Howard was also asked about him transitioning in college from UAB to Indiana and how that’s helped him adapt in the NFL. He said that it’s helped a lot because he’s been through a lot of coaching changes, and has even had a different running back coach every year since college, so he’s used to adjusting to new and different people.
He said he did meet with Duce Staley during his pre-draft process and heard that he was a pretty good pass protecting back, which is something Howard takes pride in — protecting the quarterback.
Howard later joked that he’s glad to be coming to the Eagles rather than playing against them, since he hasn’t had much success against Philadelphia’s run defense. He explained that the defensive line is a menace, and you can’t even get past them.
On him personally
He was asked about the photo pendant he was wearing around his neck, and Howard said that it was a picture of him and his Mom and Dad. He said the pair means everything to him; his Dad passed away when Jordan was 12, and his Mom is his biggest support and comes to every single game he has, home and away.
He checked the roster to see if No. 24 was available, and it is (Corey Graham is a free agent), so that’s the number he’ll wear.