Slump or Jump: Tarik Cohen
By Usayd Koshul
As the Bears 2018 offseason continues, there is no doubt that the Bears have gotten better on paper.
Being one of the youngest teams in the NFL, the Bears have plenty of players at multiple positions that seem like they’re waiting to take take the next step. Today, we examine whether or not Tarik Cohen can take the next step in 2018.
2017 season recap:
In sixteen games, Cohen ran for 370 yards on 87 attempts, averaging 4.3 yards per carry, while rushing for two touchdowns to go along with fifty-three receptions for 353 yards.
Tarik Cohen is just getting started. The former fourth-round pick is someone that is going to get tons of opportunities in 2018 due to a variety of factors. Considering the potential that he flashed last year, it’s fair to wonder as to why he wasn’t utilized more due to his versatile skill set.
In the right system, Cohen could literally play anywhere. He flashed potential as a running back and wide receiver last year, meaning that in 2018, he could line up at either position on any given play. Additionally, one thing that Matt Nagy’s offense requires is speed, which just so happens to be the biggest element that Cohen possesses. His ability to break open in space is what makes him such a dangerous, but also a valuable asset to the Bears.
Matt Nagy has already raved about the potential that Cohen has. Cohen himself has stated that the Bears offense is going to be fun to watch this year.
Last season, there were times where the opportunity for Cohen to makes plays were perfect, but Cohen missed the opportunities to make things happen. What was very noticeable all throughout 2017 was that Cohen relied too much on his speed and the moves he had often thinking that they would be enough to get the job done. What he didn’t do was utilize show patience or use his vision much. In other words, rather than letting plays develop and come to him, he tried to “bite off more than he could chew”.
As mentioned above, Cohen possesses all the tools needed to be a solid contributor in the NFL. To get a glimpse of how he will be used, one has to look at a former pupil of Nagy’s, Kansas City’s own Tyreek Hill. In just two seasons, Hill has made a name for himself as one of the NFL’s premier dual-threat weapons due to his speed. Last season, Hill had a total of 2102 yards from scrimmage.
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Will Cohen put up numbers like Hill in 2018? Probably not. But when one looks at his versatile skill set, it’s easy to see a powerful, complementary, change-of-pace running back. To have a breakout sophomore season, Cohen will need to learn to have patience as a runner, while using his vision to examine what is in front of him before turning on the jets. The difficult part for a player of Cohen’s caliber will not be scoring, rather it will be. When the Bears offense will need a spark in 2018, Cohen can be the perfect go-to guy for the Matt Nagy and Mark Helfrich, as long as he fixes all the “little things”.