Tarik Cohen under the microscope as new Bears offense takes shape
By Dan Wiederer, Chicago Tribune
Shortly after Matt Nagy was hired to become the Bears coach in January, running back Tarik Cohen latched on to a nugget. Last season’s Chiefs, with Nagy as their offensive coordinator, had two 1,000-yard receivers (Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce) plus a 1,000-yard rusher in Kareem Hunt.
OK, Cohen thought. You have my attention.
“I was like, ‘I don’t know how that ball’s getting around like that, but I know it’s going to be a good thing,’” Cohen said Wednesday as the Bears continued this week’s minicamp at Halas Hall.
Nagy’s arrival has come with an overflow of positive reviews and a belief from the top of the organization that he is the perfect leader to elevate franchise quarterback Mitch Trubisky. But Nagy also has a reputation for piecing together his offensive puzzle with an understanding of how he can best use his players’ strengths. And in that regard, one of his most important missions this spring — and certainly one of the most fun — lies in figuring out how the Bears can deploy Cohen to consistently produce favorable matchups.
“He’s a run threat and then he can catch the ball in space in broken formations,” Nagy said. “That’s an advantage for the play callers and the play designers to be able to do some different things. We can move him around and try to get an advantage. … He’s dynamic.
“But then he’s really smart. I talk about (not) making the same mistakes twice. So far, from what we’ve seen, he doesn’t do that.”
Cohen had an eye-catching rookie season. Sure, his stats — 723 yards from scrimmage, a 4.3 yards-per-carry average, three offensive touchdowns — were fairly ordinary. But, with his elite change-of-direction quickness, his exuberance and his thirst to make big things happen, he put enough dazzling moments on film to hint at his game-breaking potential.
Cohen is quite simply a 5-foot-6, 181-pound stick of dynamite for the Bears to drop into the huddle.
Wait. Check that — 181 pounds was last year.
“I’m even bigger than before,” Cohen quipped Wednesday. “I know you’re thinking, ‘That’s like super big now.”
For the record, Cohen is up to 190. “All muscle,” he said. “Solid.”