Are the Chicago Bears missing Tarik Cohen more than many thought they would?
When the Chicago Bears extended Tarik Cohen, it was looked at as a bad decision by many. Despite the fact that he was paid fair market value based on his statistics, and age, he is not used quite enough on offense and has a lot of plays where he runs east to west rather than north to south.
The following week when Cohen went down with a season-ending injury, the anger continued that after he was signed, a player who provides little is out. Perhaps losing Cohen could prove how poor of a decision it was to extend him. Maybe the Bears could open their offense without him.
Cannot trust Cordarelle Patterson
However, while it has not been long, it can be argued that through two weeks, some of his value can be seen. On offense, he was not putting up stats, but it has been clear that Cordarelle Patterson has been a downgrade in the same role.
Cohen only had 74 rushing yards and 47 receiving in three games. Patterson has 13 rushing and 46 receiving at the same time. The fact of the matter is that while Cohen is a complimentary running back, Patterson is not a running back at all. He is a gadget player, who cannot run between the tackles. Cohen is tiny but can read blocks and make the right cuts downhill.
Lack of respect in the run game
Beyond that, it is not just the receiving or statistics. The Bears play calling was extremely predictable based on their running back usage. David Montgomery is not a pass-catching threat. The Bears threw to him often, and he consistently did not create yards after the catch.
So, in Week 7, they decided to bring in Patterson as their pass catcher, and even brought Darnell Mooney into the backfield and threw to him from there. Still, when Patterson and Mooney are in the backfield it is a huge red flag that they are going to get a pass their way. Patterson cannot pass protect and does not threaten inside the tackles. Cohen is not elite in either area and takes heat in both, but he is an upgrade from Patterson.
Punt return issues
Of course, the glaring issue in losing Cohen is seeing Ted Ginn return punts. Many do not see special teams play as valuable but Cohen is one of the more feared and respected punt returners in the NFL.
I do not need to tell you just how bad the punt return game was today. Ginn made mistake after mistake and seemed uninterested in catching the football.
The Bears did not lose because Patterson is not a great complimentary back, and Ginn is a bad punt returner. These things also contributed to the issues that Chicago has on its roster.
They may have to look outside of their roster to find a punt returner, or even more important, a running back who can provide a change of pace.
You can blame the Bears for not having the depth, and that was a question before the season. Still, in losing Cohen they got worse at both positions and those holes are starting to poke their heads out.