People have offered their own explanations for why Jordan Howard hasn’t been able to master pass catching yet as a running back. Most chalk it up to the simplest idea. He has bad hands. Case closed right? Here’s the thing. That’s an easy copout for people who don’t see the bigger picture. Many things can go into poor receiving prowess. It’s not always a simple case of bad hands.

Why does this matter for Howard? Think about this. He has had 12 dropped passes in his career to date. That’s not too good. Yet at the same time, he’s only fumbled three times in his career. If he had bad hands, then wouldn’t he struggle to hang onto the football all the time? By contrast, there’s Carlos Hyde.

The former 49ers running back, who made the top 100 instead of Howard, has also dropped 12 passes over the past two season. Over that same span, he’s fumbled six times as well, double what Howard has. Still, people label Hyde as a far superior receiving threat. Could it be that he might just have more experience at it, thus people give him the benefit of the doubt?

Jordan Howard blames lack of coaching for his poor pass catching

Howard himself is aware of the situation. He knows in order to be a success in the Matt Nagy offense, he has to learn to catch the football better. He spoke with the Chicago Tribune recently and didn’t hide from the problem. In fact, he gave an explanation for where this entire thing originated. Most of it has to do with two factors.

“It started being a problem in high school, just not having my hands in the right position,” he said. “I didn’t work on it that much in college because we didn’t really throw to the backs that much. But I’m going to fix it.”

It’s a fair point. In college between the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Indiana, Howard ran the ball 647 times. He caught a grand total of 24 passes in that same span. The offenses he played in never really tried to use him extensively in the passing game. Is it any surprise after three years of this he came to Chicago with such issues?

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Not everybody takes to this part of the job so naturally. It can take time to learn. Now that he’s under a coaching staff who plans to feature it, they’ll be able to teach him exactly what to do and how to do it. Give him a chance to learn. If he’s still bad after that, then it will just have to be an unfortunate downside to his game.