Fair or Foul: Tarik Cohen targets vs. carries
Will Tarik Cohen be targeted more often in the passing game or in the rushing game?
Tarik Cohen is a unique player with a unique skill set. You are not called the human joystick for no reason. However, Tarik Cohen is an undersized athlete who typically does run between the tackles. Cohen is a running back who can do things more similar to Tyreek Hill than Kareem Hunt.
So, even despite the running back title, it is a fair question to ask whether or not Cohen would be targeted in the passing game or the rushing game more.
Mike Clay of ESPN.com, who does the fantasy projections for the site has Cohen slated for 77 targets and 76 rushing attempts. Almost a dead tie with a slight edge to being involved in the passing game.
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If you have been following the site you likely know that we agree with the edge to targets and may even see a bigger disparity in that favor. Matt Nagy has talked up Tarik Cohen as a receiver from the day he set foot in Chicago. He has immediately added routes to his plate and has been impressed with his progress in that area.
Cohen can run routes out of the backfield, he can move into the slot and can run out wide too. The team uses him on quick screens and deep passes. Cohen is so much more valuable stretching the field vertically and horizontally in the passing game that confining him to running between the tackles seems limiting of him.
On the other hand, Jordan Howard strength comes from running between the tackles. As stated when breaking down the Jordan Howard projections, it seems as though some are too far down on Howard for his pass catching ability. However, Howard is still going to be able to get his.
The team is going to use a consistent dose of Howard and Cohen on the field at the same time as well as separately. However, they are going to have different roles when they are on the field.
Getting Cohen involved more often in the passing game subscribes to the idea that Howard will still be a staple in the rushing attack.
Fair or Foul
Last season Tarik Cohen ran the football 87 times and was targeted in the passing game 71 times. Given the passing prowess of Matt Nagy, the fact that Cohen has been developing routes, and impact Cohen will give to Howard in 22 personnel, it seems as though it could be argued that the exact opposite will be the case in 2018.
Look for 87 targets and 71 rushes to be a fair number for Tarik Cohen next season.