Joniak: Production Stats Troubling For Bears' Tarik Cohen

Jeff Joniak
October 23, 2019 - 7:24 pm

LAKE FOREST (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Jeff Joniak's latest reporter's notebook from Halas Hall:

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--This is the curious case of Tarik Cohen. He touched the ball 15 times in the loss to Saints for 19 yards. Much of that came in garbage time check down catches. However, his default seems to be horizontal instead of vertical. A north-south approach would seem to be more lucrative for the third-year weapon.

--Averaging just 4.0 yards/touch on 49 touches in six games is well off the pace of his 6.9 and 5.2 yards/touch in his first two seasons. His longest catch is 7 yards, and his longest run is 9 yards. Pro Football reference reports his total yards in the air before catching a pass is minus-1 yard.  

--Head Coach Matt Nagy feels Cohen is a marked man and that is important to the eventual success of the offense.  “Tarik is going to get double-teamed in most games,” he said. “That’s just the simple fact of the matter. The more players that we have doing good things then they’ve got to choose someone else to double team.”

--The Saints defense hit Cohen out of the backfield nearly every play. “What does that do to your rush?” said Nagy. “Do you think that helps your tackles out? Go ahead and do that. You are opening up and you are helping out other players on the team.”

--There was a players-only meeting. Without knowing the topics of discussion, it is hard to measure the impact. General reaction is positive. Exactly how Nagy wants it.

--While Nagy looks for leadership to emerge in different ways this week, the steady influence of receiver Allen Robinson remains a constant. Respect for his commitment to excellence and his calming demeanor resonates in the locker room. “This is not the end of the season.  We are not going off to vacation tomorrow. Our story still can be written the way we want it to be.”

--Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was all business at the podium talking to reporters, saying he is “doing really good” and “not everyone is happy because they shouldn’t be." He was open about his struggles against the Saints: “I wasn’t as comfortable as I usually am in the pocket. I was doing too much with my feet.”

--Nagy wants Trubisky to quiet his feet in the pocket afflicted with the condition complicating his performance against the Saints. “I did have happy feet, so I can relate at times,” said Nagy. “I used to get made fun in college for having that, but when you do have happy feet it can affect your timing and your calmness and where your vision goes.”

--Trubisky is competitive. Trust his drive to clean up his game and overcome the frustration eroding the confidence and execution of the offense. “I think we’re letting the extra frustration get to us,” Trubisky said. “That’s why you see more mental mistakes and more errors. We are not playing the game fundamentally sound. We are not playing it together. We've got to get to that point where it’s all 11 guys doing their job on offense and just playing free, and playing like we know how and using our talent. When we get to that point, I think you will see a different offense.”

--There is more to Roquan Smith’s game yet to be unleashed, according to Nagy. “He can definitely play better,” the coach said. “He knows that. That’s where we’re at right now. He’s doing everything he can. None of it is due to a lack of effort.” 

--Linebacker Danny Trevathan said Smith is adapting to a new version of his role at inside linebacker in a move to a different position. "I’m playing the (middle linebacker) and he’s playing backside now. He’s picking it up right now.” Smith played fewer snaps than normal against Saints.

Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play announcer for the Bears broadcasts on WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJoniak.