91 Comments

Dowell Loggains Needs To Be Creative with Bears Backfield Duo

| August 23rd, 2017

Tarik Cohen takes a handoff, runs right and immediately sees three defenders in his path. Instead of going down easily and waiting for his next opportunity, Cohen manages to freeze all three, and sprint by for a nine-yard gain.

Nobody can really explain how Cohen managed that run in the first quarter against Arizona. It doesn’t make sense. He should’ve been stopped for a loss. And that wasn’t the first time he’s had an improbable run this preseason. He’s already made a habit of it, just as he did in college and it’s becoming very clear that the Bears have a special player to complement their already special back, Jordan Howard.

But how they’ll manage to get the most out of both remains to be seen.

Howard didn’t play against the Cardinals and Cohen only got one carry in the first two drives before Howard exited the Bears preseason game against Denver. If the Bears are going to maximize their offensive potential this season, they’ll need to be able to use both players together.

It’s not as easy as you might think.

The player Cohen is most often compared to is Darren Sproles, who didn’t have more than 200 yards from scrimmage until his third season. Sproles entered the league with Marty Schottenheimer as his coach but one of the greatest play callers of all time, Norv Turner, took over in 2007. In their first season together, Sproles — used primarily as a return man — managed just 195 yards from scrimmage.

As great as he was, Turner never did figure out a way to get his two special backs involved simultaneously. It wasn’t until 2008 when LaDainian Tomlinson started slowing down that Turner started to use Sproles more. That season he had 672 yards from scrimmage and six touchdown. The next year, he nearly equaled Tomlinson’s production, but LT was 30 and on his way out.

Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains hasn’t really shown us much in terms of how he intends to use Cohen and he shouldn’t until the regular season starts. The rookie scat back has moved around a lot more in training camp practices than he did in the first two games and he could spend a chunk of time as a de facto slot receiver this year.

But Cohen has shown that he’s more than just a gimmicky third down back. He can take handoffs and make things happen. He should be touching the ball at least 10 times a game, but doing that and keeping Howard’s attempts up won’t be easy.

The biggest criticism of Loggains last year was that he didn’t get the ball in the hands of the league’s second-leading rusher enough. Now, he has two backs who should be getting the ball a combined 30 times a game.

A better defense will help. The Bears were getting killed a lot last year and didn’t have much of a choice but to throw it. But there were other times where it just seemed that he wanted to throw more than he should.

Getting both players involved isn’t just about the best interest of the 2017 Bears, but the future of the team. Running backs have short shelf lives. It’s possible that Norv could’ve extended LT’s career if he figured out how to use Sproles — or Michael Turner — a couple of years earlier. If Loggains can use both Howard and Cohen effectively, it should help extend both of their careers and, in all likelihood, will help Loggains move on to the next step in his.

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  • SC Dave

    Nice, a well-written article that avoided the cliched swipe at Glennon.

    Yes Andrew, 30 carries per game between Howard and Cohen would be great both for the contrast/fun and for extended career effectiveness.

    You know, two 1,000 yard rushers every season for a decade.

    But we need to fix the line first.

    • SC Dave

      Oh, and so far as how he stopped them, it’s the full body fake that all three read as preparation to lower his head and squeak whatever yards he could get.

      What got him outside was how little time it all took.

    • Irish Sweetness

      The line. Nobody can argue with drafting a QB in the first this year. But the second pick should have been used on the best OL available. Without the line, nothing works. Mitchell looks like a guy we should invest in the line for, he could be great for a long time. But without that, we might be drafting one again real soon.

      • Pacebot has his shortcomings, but he stacked the OG position.

        Sitton, Long, Kush and Whitehair.

        That’s like 4 PB caliber OGs. Name another team that has that. Not even Dallas or Oak.

        Kush was just bad inj luck. Long is semi expected to return.

        When you have to turn to your 3rd-4rth string, ur likely fucked anyways.

        HOWEVER, POX should def be held accountable for Grasu. I don’t know how we all see he sucks from our couch but they’re still somehow relying on him to not-suck.

        He’s the one fucking everything up.

        Even with Kush out, if Grasu actually played well, we don’t miss a beat with Whitehair back at his natural position.

        The problem isn’t necessarily that Kush is out, but that Grasu sucks and Long a yuge inj risk.

        • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

          Grasu is just slow playing the other teams during PS. It was Pace’s idea. Go out and play shitty so teams will think he is a weakness, the we go for the kill.

          • Rope-a-dope?

            More like soap on a rope beating us over the head.

          • SC Dave

            Were I not so lazy, I’d insert the soap in socks beatdown scene from Full Metal Jacket here.

    • leftcoastdave

      You gotta know Pace will be picking somebody up off the waiver wire. Can he get so lucky as to find another Josh Sitton or Eric Kush?

      Meanwhile, I like seeing Grassu getting snaps at C as well as Roy Rob on the other side of the ball and what that can say about developing young linemen. Same can be said for Bullard for that matter.

      With a little luck (ie., no serious injuries), the trenches can both be top five in the league.

      • SC Dave

        I don’t really like seeing Whitehair moved from center, but right now we don’t have much in the way of options.

        Perhaps the waiver wire will be kind and we can get someone good. The reserves we have don’t seem to be generating much excitement, but to be honest I have not watched them much and had I, it would be against the 2s and 3s of the opposition.

        Perhaps we will find out more on Sunday.

        • leftcoastdave

          With Kush out we need somebody else to be able to snap and I do not think Grassu looked that bad. Until there is an alternative, he needs to be trained up to be game ready.

        • The thing is, it’s harder to get a C up to speed than an OG (for obvious reasons).

          We can plug in an OG.

          I say keep Whitehair at C with his experience in that O.

          Maybe he’ll even be good enough to start calling protections which will really help Trub or even Glennon who’s in his first yr in the system.

      • Don’t forget he found Slausen.

        Making me wonder if it’s really the system and our Oline coach who is doing the heavy lifting.

        I’m still pulling for that Morgan kid.

        Or that big MOFO Proel.

        Basically, anyone but Grasu.

        • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

          Bring back TAYO!!!

    • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

      If you use your Bears Secret Decoder Ring, you will realize that this well-written article is actually a diatribe against all things Mike Glennon.

    • Get off the bus running
      Run back to the bus
      Run to the showers
      Run to the towels
      Run home

  • Suns Out, Buns out, Ciggy In

    Loggains showed way less creativity in his use of formations and playcalling last year:

    1. I Formation with 2 HB’s was extremely effective in short yardage.
    2. Split HB’s was incredibly effective in short yardage and allowed both backs to run quick hitting pass routes.
    3. The old misdirection pitch was never used.

    I don’t know why we failed to use these types of plays.

    • Irish Sweetness

      The I-formation is the most beautiful thing in offensive football for me. The balance available, and the ability to switch run/pass in a bark is hard to beat. You can overload a side with motion and power-blocking … or fake that and spin out to launch one to Thompson who’s gone route one. I’d stay in that formation all day long until somebody stopped it. Don’t think we have the line for it though.

      Is Kyle done? That’s not good for anybody, unless we have some unpolished diamond on the bench.

      • We have like the opposite of the I formation.

        Olinemen good in space (as opposed to brute strength). No FB (most likely).

        We do have a bruiser back, but that’s about it.

        The Zona announcer did make an interesting observation though when he predicted that the power run would make a comeback with all these 218 pound ILBs and hybrid S/LBs.

        Reap for the pounding.

        But the NFL has given such an advantage to not touching the QB or WRs that it’s hard for me to believe a coach won’t take advantage of the passing game.

  • Irish Sweetness

    Can the OC create us a bruising power back, like Jordan? That would certainly be creative. But what if/when Jordan gets injured? Carey can’t do what he does. Benny certainly can’t. Jeremy CERTAINLY can’t. So we become a team reliant on small backs to get the hard yards when we need them. Throw the ball? Yes, we could, that’s exactly what the defense will be expecting.

    Never raise a problem without a solution.

    I submit the Cardinals’ Elijhaa Penny, 6’2, 234lbs. Currently 5th RB on their roster, and will likely get cut and can be had for vet minimum (rookie). Does his 1.8 YPC against us spell danger? Nope. It might spell ‘good run defense’, because he’s a big boy, and looks like he could step in for Jordan’s absences – should there be any. I don’t have the game recorded, but my recollection of him was … he’d be nice to have.

    • Suns Out, Buns out, Ciggy In

      Irish, cmon man. This comment just gave my computer a virus.

      • Irish Sweetness

        (shrugs)

        Who ya got? Do we need a carbon copy of Jordan’s body? I think we do. You need that role on your roster, and you get one-dimensional very quickly once they’re not there. Benny might dance through a line, but if it’s 3rd and 1 and you’re down Kyle … it’ll be a long day at the office up front. Tarik wouldn’t run over a smurf.

        Carry JH, BC, TC and a big guy. I don’t know who’s out there. That guy will be.

        • Suns Out, Buns out, Ciggy In

          And on the 8th day God created fullbacks.

          • SC Dave

            Unrein

          • Irish Sweetness

            Short yardage, fine and excellent. But then we still need a Howard-type for those drives. Not a problem if he’s healthy.

          • CanadaBear

            What if the second guy goes down? Don’t we need a 3rd and 4th guy built like Howard and runs just like him?

          • King of DBB

            We have Zach Miller for that.

            #sarcasm

        • Johnnywad

          Carey is 7 pounds lighter.

          • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

            Cunningham is only 5 pounds lighter.

          • Johnnywad

            Cunningham it is then.

    • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

      You keep saying you want a big back like Jordan. Can you define what the minimum stats (height/weight) for a big back you are looking for?

    • willbest

      Are you aware that the reason elite RBs only make 6-8 million is because the drop off from Devonta Freeman to Matt Jones isn’t considered to be all that great?

    • What team rosters two AP HBs?

      Remember when the Panthers did that? They SUCKED.

      It wasn’t till they only stuck to one primary back that they went on a run.

      • SC Dave

        It seems you have to let elite backs build momentum in a game.

        • And the Panthers actually had THREE quality RBs, they had that one bowling ball FB who was very good.

          PLUS Cam running.

          Irish would’ve loved it.

          Not that it made the Panthers better sinking all that cap into that…

  • Irish Sweetness

    BTW- Savage is the starter in Houston? Wow. Those poor GMS ….

    • willbest

      I am surprised. Butch and some others were telling me how good Watson looked, and Savage is getting paid peanuts.

      • Watson def looked good 1st game. Haven’t caught 2nd game, but hard to imagine he could’ve sucked THAT much.

        In some sense I feel like this is in reality a vote of confidence for Watson.

        The Texans are trying to actually develop him and not just throw him to the wolves ill-prepared.

        It’s always easier bringing a rook off the bench during the season anyways rather than vice versa (benching a rook, admitting 1st rd mistake)

        Savage is nearly Hoyer lvl, so he’ll make them compete, but as we all know, he won’t ever get them over the hump. Maybe that’s when Texans put Watson in, like midseason or something, get him primed for playoff run.

  • King of DBB

    Browns like Kizer so much he’s the favorite to start on opening day.

    Yes, that Deshone Kizer. The one who told the press he was going to be the GOAT. Talked more draft day smack than MacGregor does against Mayweather.

    Counterargument: It’s the fucking Browns.

    • Suns Out, Buns out, Ciggy In

      GP, Bitcoin at 4200.00 you just made another 25K over the weekend. I see a project 912 in your future.

      • King of DBB

        Uncle Sam only gets 15% this time. Which is beautiful.

    • “Osweiler sucks. Kizer is the future. Browns aren’t wasting any time getting his development started.” – Jeff

      Jes. Because if ANY org knows how to draft and develop QBs it’s the Browns.

      Again, it’s sorta risk reward.

      The Browns almost definitely wanted Trub.

      They dreamt of landing their franchise pass rusher and pass thrower this draft, but ole Pacebot snuck in a huge trojan penus virus and fucked them.

      So after that, they just sat out not liking Watson or Mahomes, or that is to say, liking Darnold and ’18 class more.

      Kizer was just a consoloation prize. No way they went into the draft thinking “that’s our guy”.

      So of course they’re gonna throw him out there. Oz and Keebler Efl Kessler are not real QBs (free Kap!).

      The Browns have like 10 picks in the first 3 rds next draft or something.

      They’ll treat Kizer like Palpatine treated Darth Maul

      They’ll throw him out there and if he dies, they’ll discard him like a broken lightsaber since they had grander designs all along anyways (Darth Darnold).

  • BearDown100393

    Great read today. Thank you Andrew.

    Since these are all meaningless time meandering profit generating practices, Bird Cage is not going to disclose much. However the running game is looking gem.

    Now if Howard’s eyeball doesn’t fall out, things will look even more upbeat.

  • SC Dave

    Overall White blocked pretty well in the run game. He will learn, as will the other WRs, to keep looking for guys to block with Tarik out there.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pL-tzHM2VNQ

    First play, White makes a good block and then looks a little surprised that Cohen was an eyelash from breaking the tackle and he might have to block another guy.

    Fourth play White does well enough tying his guy up and Cam gets a solid block too.

    Fifth play (the one Adnrew used), if White makes a block on the CB, a Tarik juke on the safety and he could have gone house.

    Seventh play (25 yarder) White does an excellent job blocking his man. Hard to do much better actually.

    Stuff like that can certainly help Kevin make the team, although he will need to learn to keep his hands a little closer to his body I think to avoid holding calls. It makes me wonder how much value Fox places on WR blocking ability when deciding the roster.

    • willbest

      Its hard to set your feet for a block if you are afraid your leg is going to shatter.

      • SC Dave

        He doesn’t need to. Screening blocks are what WRs typically do, since the don’t have to actually MOVE the guy.

        And if you go watch, those blocks were effective.

    • Johnnywad

      Boy, I can’t see him getting cut this year.

      • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

        or next year for that matter. His contract is fully guaranteed.

        • willbest

          Its 9+ mil in dead money this year. Next year it would be 5 million (2.6 mil of which they already gave him). Plus I think they get offset, since they opted for huge signing bonus with him.

          Considering Bellamy has shown more on the field than White, it could easily be worth the hit just to free up the roster spot for somebody with promise.

      • Not this yr.
        We need to see him play an actual season.

        It used to be rule of thumb that WRs need 3 yrs to hit their stride.
        Let’s hope White hits his this season.

        • SC Dave

          At least get ONE year out of him.

  • fishing florida

    dannehy, re: your tweets on the side. your bears blog is fun and good, but hub arkush and brad biggs are easily the two best commentators on the bears.

    • fishing florida

      also Glennon does not suck. he looks like a graceful swan out there with his long sexy neck.

  • willbest

    Leno is getting paid. 4 years ~21 mil in guarantees.

    • SC Dave

      Whenever 7th rounders get a second contract for the bigger bucks, you know they’ve earned it. Say what you will about Leno – I’ll give him props for making it this far.

    • Hicks should be next.

  • King of DBB
    • Bender McLugh

      you spelled Shitsburgh wrong

    • willbest

      Levon Bell? He would be stupid to not play on the tag. The only RBs to get more than 20 million guaranteed in the last 3 years were Fournette and Elliot, and that is because they are top 10 draft picks.

      If Bell plays on the tag that will be $12 million. Even in a worse case scenario where he tears his ACL, he will make $6 million over the following 2 years. And in the best case scenario he studs out again, hits the FA market because he is “untaggable” and actually lands $24 million in guarantee in a bidding war. Though probably not because of his injury history.

      • AlbertInTucson

        He’s said he’ll be in camp on the 1st.

  • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis
    • willbest

      Bears got solid value on that deal. Leno is a competent left tackle, and those are hard to come by. Is he the 14th best? Probably not, but he has been refreshingly healthy (knock on wood) which is a big positive.

    • “Left guard Kyle Long is under contract through 2021, although the Bears
      have an out in the contract after 2018 that would leave $3 million in
      dead salary cap space in 2019 should they choose to exercise it.”

      If Long is riding pine again this season, then it’s time to cut bait on him in ’18 or dramatically restructure his contract.

      That was a problem with his bro too. Always inj.

      Draft some corn bred dude from Wisc in the 3rd and call it a day.

  • George Hotchkiss

    I worry about Floyd and Cohen. The NFL is the ultimate judge and jury on human bodies. Last year Floyd, who really is a special talent, missed half the season with concussions. Two official concussions make it more possible for another.

    Cohen is also a special talent, he is pugnacious and shifty, but if he is used too much and tries to do too much, he will spend most of his career on IR. Great players have zero value on the bench, the Bears need to coach both players well on safety and use them wisely.

    I really want to see them both play, so I am pretty much being selfish here…

    • King of DBB

      Look at the Twatter video above

      Right from the snap, Hroniss is already pushed back into the handoff. Nearly.

      That alone is going to get Cohen killed.

      • Grasu SUUUUUUCKS

        #RomanianIceSkater

        Reply

      • SC Dave

        What? That was the strategy… let him run in so that when he tries to pursue, the DE that is there to seal the end is in the way.

        • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

          GENIUS!

    • I’m more worried about Floyd than Cohen.
      It’s sorta hard not to use your helmet.

      Cohen I think will be alright.

      Dunno if you ever played football, but when you’re going full speed and there’s a fast lil 5’6 guy already running low to the ground, it’s extremely difficult to get a clean shot at him (and I wasn’t 6’3)

      A defender would have to basically blind side him while he’s waiting for his blocks to develop or catch him stretching for extra yds.

      Given that Cohen’s not gonna tote the rock 30 times a game, I don’t think the D will get that many chances at a kill shot.

      I’m more worried about him picking up the blitz.

  • Corporal Clott

    What if it’s the toxicity in plastic’s and synthetic fabrics that are absorbed into the body from the football uniforms and products todays athletes use that’s causing CTE and the much higher rate of football injuries we are seeing today? Then let’s not forget heavy metal poisoning caused by iron, stainless steel and aluminum that most of us use in our every day lives.

    I’m now looking for investors for my new Green Football League. Yes, that’s right gent’s, the pigskin and all apparell will now be all 100% non-toxic carbon based and cow leather (due to the high volume of religious athletes). If you’re a hindu, tough shit. Hee hee

    If it’s not 100% carbon based, it’s a banned sub stance. I’m currently interviewing for a Commissioner and Owner/GM’s and all applicatants are welcome. Fack the NFL.

    P.s. yonny, this totally explains 100% why Jay was the turnover machine he was while in Chicago.

  • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

    Ok this anti confederacy crap is going a little far. ESPN is pull an announcer from a Virginia game because his name is Robert Lee.

    https://sports.yahoo.com/espn-announcer-robert-lee-originally-scheduled-call-week-1-virginia-game-031534837.html

    • I knew a Robert Lee.

      But he was Chinese.

      Chinese confederate?

      • This guy is Asian-American too.

      • willbest

        I kid you not, a Singaporean colleague of mine said that this was going to hit Koreans soon. That was friday.

        Also did you see banning USC’s mascot horse traveler, because it evoked Traveller, Lee’s horse. I would bet a sizeable chunk of my net worth that less than 1% of the country could name that horse.

    • Apparently it was his idea originally, but I agree it’s dumb.

      • willbest

        I saw an unverified statement saying they approached him about the potential harassment and he agreed it was probably a good idea all but assuring that it goes viral

    • SC Dave

      The worst part of this is that it does not surprise me in any way.

  • Was Allen Hurns always on the trade-block?

    He’d cost $7M against the cap (the savings we would’ve had if we had kept Hoyer), so we can absorb it.

    a 4rth rounder and call it a day?

    6’3 205 only 25 yrs old.
    64 ca, 1,000 yds, 10 TDs in ’15 before Bortles totally crapped out.

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2017/08/23/talk-in-jacksonville-that-jaguars-may-look-to-trade-allen-hurns/#comments

    • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

      How many times do I have to tell you? We have enough cap space if want him we can get him. It has nothing to do with the money given to Glennon versus Hoyer.

      • Yes, because having extra cap space is bad.

        Just because a person is a billionaire doesn’t mean he has to buy an $18M mil dollar toilet.

        • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

          I agree, but it was done, nothing you can do about it now. Every year we see bad contracts given out, shit happens, lucky for us Glennons contract has an easy out for us.

          • Glennon was one of those signings I understood but didn’t agree with.

            I can understand taking a shot at a franchise QB.

            Or taking two shots.

            I just didn’t agree with it. MB and I were prolly the biggest Hoyer backers (as a bridge, not chise) but it’s also completely plausible that Hoyer wanted to reunite with his old OC in SF.

            I don’t care about the cap hit THIS yr as long as it doesn’t affect us getting better players like Hurns (or sealing up extensions like with Leno and hopefully Hicks).

          • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

            I did not like Hoyer to begin with. I did not like the Glennon signing, too much money, but understood it, especially after I saw it was basically a 1 year deal. We had a shit ton of Cap space this year and we will have a lot next year.

  • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

    NEW THREAD!!!

  • FF Alert Getting closer, gentlemen, but I didn’t hear any takers from last announcement.
    You guys know the drill, so lemme know if you guys are still down. Last yrs’ league was actually HIGHLY competitive in spite of late season shennaigans (which shall be eliminated this time around w early trade cut-offs and me regulating more…ah the libertarian FF dream has vanished).

    I can re-open that league and add more spots (I think) or start a whole new one.

    The draft date will likely be next Sat to give ppl a chance to do their homework and plan for injuries and such.

    Lemme know if u guys are interested.

    Da Commish.

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