2. Tarik Cohen
Matt Nagy is at an interesting crossroads with the running back position. Jordan Howard is a pro bowler that has over 2,600 yards and 16 touchdowns under his belt. However, through five games, it appears that his running mate, Tarik Cohen, fits the offense better.
Howard has a place in this offense. His vision is elite and he moves with a lot of finesse, which is special considering his stockier build. Cohen was compared to another playmaker from Nagy’s previous offense in Tyreek Hill before the season began. While Hill has much more production in his career thus far, Cohen has flashed instances of being able to replicate the success.
Here’s what’s evident about the start of the season. Nagy had been trying to limit the use of Tarik in the first three games. Sure, one can say that the gameplan called for Howard to punish opposing defenses in those games, but both Cohen and Howard were used in an entirely different way against Tampa Bay and Miami. The same explanation can be used of the gameplan calling for Cohen in these games but allow me to ask this: When is it ever really a disadvantage to have Cohen on the field? Pass blocking? Perhaps. But outside of that, Tarik Cohen creates matchup nightmares every time he lines up.
Nagy and the rest of the Bears’ organization have been trying to preserve this notion that Jordan Howard is the featured back. The problem is, Cohen might be the answer. Cohen can run screen plays better than Howard. He can run wheel routes out of the backfield. He can run streaks, slants, posts. He’s faster, he’s a more natural catcher of the football, he makes more people miss. Has a better YPC average and makes more explosive plays routinely.
Tarik Cohen’s skill set is so in-tune for Nagy’s offense that there has to be some tension within the locker room about touches.
Much like in the John Fox era, fans clamored that Tarik Cohen has been underutilized. Before week four, the same fans would have been saying the same things about his use from this staff. If Tarik Cohen can take on the role that Nagy and the rest of the offensive staff envision him being in, this offense could reach new heights. Imagine if Tarik Cohen was used like his counterpart in Kansas City.