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Howard, Cohen put Bears in 'ideal spot'

In an article assessing every NFL team's running back situation,'s Matt Harmon praises the Bears and their dynamic tandem of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen.

This past season Howard became the first player in Bears history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first two years in the league, while Cohen made an immediate impact as a rookie, displaying the same explosive game-breaking ability that earned him the nickname "The Human Joystick" at North Carolina A&T.

"For all the work the Bears need to do to get their roster back into playoff-contending shape, they're in an ideal spot in the backfield," Harmon wrote. "Chicago has two skilled young backs under contract that count for just $1.4 million combined against the cap in 2018."

These current Bears players showed off their strength when they attended the NFL Combine, pushing out more bench reps than anyone else on the roster.

After rushing for a Bears rookie record 1,313 yards and six touchdowns on 252 carries in 2016, Howard ran for 1,122 yards and nine TDs on 276 attempts in 2017.

"Jordan Howard has proved to be one of the best running backs in the NFL over his first two seasons," Harmon wrote. "He was one of four players at the position to rush for over 1,000 yards in each of the last two years, and he'll be the foundation of the offense once again."

Cohen rushed for 370 yards and two touchdowns on 87 carries, caught 53 passes for 358 yards and one TD, averaged 9.4 yards with one touchdown on 29 punt returns and averaged 22.4 yards on 26 kickoff returns. His 53 catches were the third most by a Bears rookie behind Matt Forte's 63 in 2008 and Mike Ditka's 56 in 1961. Cohen also threw a 21-yard TD pass on a halfback option play to tight end Zach Miller in a win over the Ravens.

In the process, Cohen became the first NFL rookie to generate a touchdown on a rush, reception, pass and punt return in a single season since Bears Hall of Famer Gale Sayers in 1965 and the first NFL player to do so since Terry Metcalf in 1975.

"New head coach Matt Nagy should make it a priority to get the ball in the hands of explosive 2017 rookie Tarik Cohen more often," Harmon wrote. "Though Cohen touched the ball 140 times on offense, his usage swung wildly week to week. Anyone with a set of eyes can identify how explosive Cohen is, and Nagy's Chiefs' offenses consistently made use of players who thrive in space."

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