Fair or Foul: 300 rushing yards for Tarik Cohen


Will Tarik Cohen surpass 300 rushing yards in 2018?

It seems as though everybody knows that Tarik Cohen is going to be involved more in the offense. However, nobody really knows in which ways he will be involved more.

Mike Clay, who does the fantasy football projections at ESPN had Cohen seeing about as many carries as targets next year. With that, he saw Cohen’s yardage output being split between the two categories as well. He projected 313 rushing yards for Tarik Cohen, 4.1 yards per carry. Is that a fair or foul projection on the ground?


At first glance, that feels low. Heck, just last season Tarik Cohen ran for 370 yards. He also averaged 4.3 yards per attempt. That was on an offense in which it was unanimously accepted that Cohen’s value was being suppressed. It was a predictable offense and it should see Cohen jumping further in 2018 on diversity alone.

On top of that,  Tarik Cohen is a big play threat. One of the best in the NFL. Sample size has to do with it, but Cohen was extremely successful at breaking into the open field. There is a chance he breaks an 80-yard touchdown on opening day. Are really going to predict just over 200 yards from there?

Pass Catching ability

However, that does not factor into what Cohen is going to be doing in the passing game. Last season Cohen averaged 6.7 yards per reception in the passing game compared to 4.3 in the run game. Cohen’s longest passing play of the season was also 70 yards, compared to a 46-yard rush being his longest.

When Matt Nagy stepped foot in Chicago, he immediately was drawn to Cohen. However, anytime he talks about Tarik Cohen, it is in the passing game. They added more to his plate, and Nagy is excited with his progress when it comes to running routes.

The fact of the matter is that it appears that the Chicago Bears are more invested in progressing him and using him in the passing game.

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Jordan Howard

This makes sense considering his relationship with Jordan Howard. Howard struggles to catch the football and while that may be slightly overblown, the team is much more incentivized to keep his touches on the ground.

So it would make sense that Cohen does see more pass targets, and potentially less carries as Howard soaks up the attempts in the area in which he is best at.

The question from here obviously becomes whether or not it is too predictable. The idea last year was that when Cohen was on the field he was getting the football. It resulted in lulls over the season. They cannot get into a situation where the defense is calling out the run with Howard on the field and pass with Cohen.

That is where 22 personnel comes in. The team is already excited about adding in 13 personnel and 3 tight end systems. However, they can easily branch off of that with 2 running backs and two tight ends.

In this personnel grouping, the team is prepared to run the football with either back. They are also prepared to throw to either back. So, even though they will lean heavily to Howard running and Cohen through the air, it will still have unpredictability due to personnel groupings.

Howard and Cohen can be a good mix. That should mean Howard out producing what some think on the ground, and it may mean Cohen sitting under his 2017 rushing totals as well.