More Tarik Cohen could solve Bears' lack of offensive rhythm

Gene Chamberlain

Tarik Cohen stated the obvious when asked if the Bears might have to open it up offensively a bit.

"I guess so. We ain't score a touchdown," Cohen said. "We gotta open it up."

What opening up the offense actually means is up to the coaching staff, but the Bears weren't exactly running George Halas' T-formation attack of the 1940s against Green Bay in their season-opening 10-3 loss.

Actually, they might need to shut it down a bit because the running attack included only 11 total rushes by David Montgomery and Mike Davis, and none officially by Cohen.

"Between (Montgomery), Mike Davis and Tarik Cohen, those three guys, they're all special when they have the football in their hands. I recognize that, I realize that," coach Matt Nagy said. "And again, like I said last week, I'm well aware of it."

Cohen went into the slot in a new twist caused partially because of injury. Nagy last week prior to the game said they were prepared with contingencies if injured tight end Trey Burton was unavailable. Cohen in the slot where Burton sometimes goes was one example.

It didn't work quite to the level the Bears hoped. Cohen had eight catches in 10 targets for just 49 yards.

"I feel like that was good for me and me growing in this offense," Cohen said. "They see me in the slot now. It’s also another thing we can throw out there. They won't know what's coming, and I can be in the backfield. Well, now they can see me in the slot."

Cohen actually did have one carry, but it was a muffed handoff on the first run and a penalty wiped it out. He said it doesn't matter how many carries he gets – if it's once or even sort of once.

"No, I don't think it's hard for me to accept that because I like the win over stats," Cohen said. "I don't play fantasy football. I don't need stats.

"We just need the wins to get our ultimate goal. That's why I feel like it's not necessary for me to have to get the ball this many times to get in a rhythm. However I can get the ball or I'm making an impact on the game, that's really what it's all about, if I'm making an impact."

Backs often say they don't get in a rhythm without running, but apparently Cohen has plenty of rhythm. He is one of the better dancers on the team, after all.

"For me the rhythm is not even getting the ball in the running game or getting the ball in the passing game, it's touching the ball in any way I can having the ball in my hand," Cohen said. "Punt return plays a part in that. Just having the ball, being able to see how defenders are playing me."

Cohen did actually have 12 touches counting his eight receptions and four punt returns for 36 yards. However, of his eight receptions only four came before that fourth-quarter drive that ended near the two-minute warning with Mitchell Trubisky throwing an interception to Adrian Amos.

"I'm not really looking forward to getting like this many rushes in a row or this many passes in a row," Cohen said. "I just need the ball in my hands."

It wouldn't be surprising if Cohen does things he's never done before when the Bears face Denver, because Broncos coach Vic Fangio was Bears defensive coordinator and is very familiar with their elusive receiving back.

"Coach Nagy knows my skill set," Cohen said. "He knows what I can do so he throws a lot at me and sees how I respond to it."