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Is offense better with Cohen involved?

Posted Nov 21, 2017

Senior writer Larry Mayer discusses whether the offense is more productive when Tarik Cohen is more involved, why Cohen and Adam Shaheen weren't on the field late against the Lions and if Christian Jones may move to outside linebacker.



Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

It seems like the Bears are a lot more productive when they get running back Tarik Cohen involved in their offense. Are there are statistics that prove that’s true?

Evan B.
Schiller Park, Illinois

The Bears produced their three highest point totals of the season in games in which rookie running back Tarik Cohen had at least 13 touches on offense. He had 15 touches in a 27-24 overtime win in Baltimore, 13 in last Sunday’s 27-24 loss to the Lions and 16 in a 23-17 overtime victory over the Steelers. In five games that Cohen has had fewer than 13 touches, the Bears are 1-4 and have scored 14, 17, 17, 12 and 16 points. So it looks like there’s a correlation there.

Why weren’t Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen and Adam Shaheen on the field during the Bears’ last drive against the Lions? They are probably the top three playmakers on offense.

Paul H.
Carmel, Indiana

Jordan Howard is replaced by Benny Cunningham in those situations because the Bears feel that Cunningham is better at picking up blitzes and catching the ball out of the backfield. As for Tarik Cohen and Adam Shaheen, both are inexperienced rookies who don’t yet possess the same knowledge of the game as their veteran teammates. Here’s what coach John Fox had to say when asked why Cohen and Shaheen weren’t on the field on the Bears’ final drive: “Every one of those guys that’s out there is a veteran guy who’s been in football for some time. The fact that you don’t huddle and they have to know what’s going on, regardless of what position they play, I think most of the guys out there are veteran guys, and there’s a lot to know when you don’t huddle. There’s a lot of football to understand. That’s not the first time it’s been that way. It’s been that way all the way back to Atlanta, which was our opener, even with a different quarterback. I don’t really know much else how to answer that, other than it takes a lot of understanding to execute that.”

With Leonard Floyd injured, do you think that Christian Jones will move to outside linebacker this week against the Eagles?

Steve B.
Chicago Heights, Illinois

I think a lot of that depends on the status of inside linebacker Danny Trevathan, who has not practiced or played since hurting his calf Oct. 29 against the Saints. If Trevathan is able to return against the Eagles and join Nick Kwiatkoski and John Timu inside, the Bears would be able to play Christian Jones outside. If that doesn’t happen, they likely will rely on Pernell McPhee, Sam Acho and Isaiah Irving to pick up the slack at outside linebacker.

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