Chalk Talk

Chalk Talk: Will Cohen keep returning punts?

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.

With the Bears signing Cordarrelle Patterson and drafting Kerrith Whyte, are they planning to take Tarik Cohen out of the returner role to ensure his health as he takes a bigger role in the offense? He’s a good returner, but both additions are more than capable.
From @Danny_Bobrowski on Twitter

I haven’t heard any rumblings about the Bears replacing Tarik Cohen as their punt returner and would be very surprised if they made that move. Last season Cohen was named first-team All Pro and selected to his first Pro Bowl after leading the NFL with 411 punt return yards and ranked first in the NFC with a 12.5-yard average on a league-leading 33 returns. Plus Cordarrelle Patterson and Kerrith Whyte Jr. both have excelled returning kickoffs, not punts. Patterson has returned just one punt in six NFL seasons, while Whyte did not have any punt returns in four years at Florida Atlantic.

What’s with our kicker situation?
From @Mdoe_13 on Twitter

The Bears currently have three kickers on their roster, all of whom they acquired this offseason: Chris Blewitt, Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro. Blewitt made 69.6 percent of his field-goal attempts (55 of 79) at the University of Pittsburgh from 2013-16, but this is the first time he’s been on an NFL roster. Fry, a South Carolina product, signed with the Bears after making all 14 of his field-goal tries this spring for the Orlando Apollos in the Alliance of American Football. The Bears acquired Pineiro from the Raiders on May 7 in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2021 draft. Pineiro is the most accurate field-goal kicker in Florida history, having made 88.4 percent of his attempts (38 of 43) with a long of 54 yards. The Miami native made 29 of his last 30 field-goal tries for the Gators, including his final 16. Bears general manager Ryan Pace will monitor the competition at Halas Hall and continue to explore all of his options at the position, including the possibility of signing a kicker who’s released by another team after training camp.

Do you think Duke Shelley will beat out Buster Skrine for the nickel back position?
From @LukeSeriko on Twitter

I feel that sixth-round pick Duke Shelley will challenge Buster Skrine for the nickel position this summer in training camp and the preseason. Shelley’s chances of winning the job will hinge on how quickly he learns the defense and is able to adjust to the speed of the game at the NFL level. Shelley impressed me during rookie minicamp with the plays that he made on the ball and the energy he brought to the defense. He’s definitely an intriguing prospect to watch.

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