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Tarik Cohen during the 2020 season has received much warranted hate from the Bears community after an underwhelming 2020 season. That being said, I still think that Tarik Cohen is a one-of-a-kind talent and should be looked at as a top priority in this offseason, as he is set to be a free agent after this year. 

What makes Tarik Cohen so valuable? 

Well, Tarik Cohen is one of the few running backs that can provide value from the slot and out wide as a receiver. In 2019, Cohen lodged 19.3% of his snaps in the slot which was 3rd among all RB’s. 

What is so valuable about a running back that sees snaps that aren’t in the backfield?

When you have a running back that can go out wide, it makes pre-snap reads much easier for the quarterback, because you can use that running back to run man coverage checks by doing something as simple as motioning him and seeing how the defenses respond.

When dealing with an RB out wide, it can also force defenses to tip their hand by having to put a linebacker on Cohen who is out wide which is a direct indicator that it is man coverage, because if it was zone coverage you would see a corner back out wide and on Cohen as in most cover 3 and 4 schemes have corners who don’t leave their side of the field. 

The value that Tarik Cohen adds not only helps QBs but it also helps fellow running back David Montgomery. As a stated earlier, Cohen can help whoever is under-center with their pre snap reads by forcing defenses to give indicators to if they are in man or zone coverage.
If the defense is in zone coverage and the QB knows it, it heightens the chances of a successful run play and can incentivise the handoff part of a RPO, the RPOs being a huge part of the Bears offense. Because if there are less eyes in the backfield as there would be in man coverage as opposed to zone coverage where there are always the eyes of cornerbacks in the backfield.



Photo: Associated Press