Tarik Cohen took a different path toward improvement while working out this offseason:
Tarik Cohen says he was back in Greensboro during the offseason with his former teammates at North Carolina A&T and played some 7v7. Focused on playing in slot and outside as a receiver. #Bears
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) April 18, 2018
The Chicago Bears running back was among the team’s best pass catchers last season and decided to go get together with some familiar faces in order to hone his craft, but with a focus on working a wide receiver. I suppose that’s one way to get better as a running back.
“Nobody wants to play running back in a 7-on-7 and just get swing routes,” Cohen said about his time in 7-on-7 drills during his meeting with the assembled media on Wednesday at Halas Hall. “You want to get the fade balls and jump balls and all that. So that’s really what I’ve been working on.” Point taken.
If you recall, the Bears put a lot on Tarik Cohen’s plate last season.
He was the backup running back, kick and punt returner, Wildcat quarterback, and even lined up inside the slot and outside the numbers like a wide receiver from time to time. Cohen scored touchdowns as a rusher, receiver, passer, and return specialist. Without a doubt, the fourth-round rookie from North Carolina A&T was the most exciting aspect of the Bears’ offense more often than not in 2017. And yet, Cohen doesn’t feel like he has accomplished anything.
“I didn’t have a 1,000-yard season in any phase of the game, so I feel like I have a lot more to do,” Cohen said.
Cohen was used in so many different roles, but was only in on 36.4 percent of the team’s total offensive snaps. Most notably, Cohen was often the odd-man out during the two-minute drill offense and on third down plays. Benny Cunningham, who was more experienced as a receiver and blocker in those situations, was given the bulk of the playing time in those particular roles. However, an improved Cohen could cut into that playing time if he is able to apply what he has learned as a receiver in the offseason to his role as a running back.
It’s fun to think about how much more Cohen could do in his second professional season with a new coach and coordinator, new offensive system, and a role that takes advantage of his skills. The possibilities always seem endless during minicamp.