When talking about the Chicago Bears offense, the conversations tend to center around three primary names. Allen Robinson at wide receiver, David Montgomery at running back, and the Jimmy Graham/Cole Kmet combo at tight end. They are the picture everybody gets when thinking about the arsenal Andy Dalton or Justin Fields will have at their disposal. There are some talks about newcomers like Marquise Goodwin, Damiere Byrd, and Damien Williams too. So what about Tarik Cohen?
That is a question former All-Pro linebacker Bart Scott raised on the KJZ radio program for ESPN. It isn’t a secret the Bears’ offense needs to get better this season. He believes a lot of people don’t truly appreciate how vital Cohen was to everything they did prior to his knee injury last year. His ability to provide explosive plays was especially missed. When defenses no longer had to account for him, stopping everybody else became easier.
He isn’t wrong.
When Cohen is at his best, defenses are terrified of him. They’ve had to gear entire game plans for a week to make sure they always know where he is lined up. The big question for the Bears is which Cohen will they be getting? One should not underscore the fact he’s coming off a torn ACL. Such injuries can take a long time to recover from. Especially players who rely heavily on their change-of-direction ability as he does.
This is undoubtedly why the Bears invested resources in guys like Goodwin, Byrd, and Darnell Mooney. They wanted more explosive play options on their roster. It is never a good thing when you’re overly dependent on one player to provide them. If he gets hurt? You’re basically screwed.
Tarik Cohen could be much more dangerous in the future
Not so much because of his talent getting better but because the Bears have overhauled their quarterback room. Andy Dalton isn’t anything special but he has a vast array of experience with backs like Cohen. He worked with Giovani Bernard for years in Cincinnati and then Tony Pollard last season in Dallas. He’ll know exactly what the fourth-year back does best on the field.
The true excitement though comes with Justin Fields. Few quarterbacks are better equipped to maximize a backfield than him. This is due to his ability to run. Fields has 4.4 speed himself. This makes him immensely dangerous in the run-pass option game. Defenses will have to account for him on every handoff, meaning the odds rise for somebody like Tarik Cohen to see open lanes.
To say nothing of Fields’ ability to hit on deep passes.
Few running backs run the wheel route better than Cohen. Matt Nagy loves to run that play. He was just never able to do it often because he knew the quarterbacks he had couldn’t hit it with any consistency. That might be about to change. Nobody is better positioned to benefit than Cohen. Here is hoping he is healthy enough to take advantage. We’ll start finding out in just over a week.