After surprising Bears fans as a rookie taken in the fourth round of the draft and improving across the board in his second season, year three was a challenge for Cohen.
Cohen saw a significant dip in production as a rusher and receiver, going from averaging 4.5 yards per carry and 10.2 yards per reception in 2018 to 3.3 and 5.8, respectively. Cohen’s disappointment in his performance last season has lingered throughout the offseason.
« The season I had last year was definitely not my best work, » said Cohen. « I definitely have to get that bitter taste out of my mouth. That’s what I came into the offseason with. That drove me into the offseason, through my workouts and now even in training camp. I believe the coaches and all the staff upstairs, they can see that I’m ready to have a season like I had in 2018. »
Cohen believes that family issues last offseason affected his performance on the field in 2019. Last June, his half-brother, Dante, was paralyzed in a shooting.
« The first part is, I had a lot of things going on last offseason, and I didn’t really concentrate and grind the way I usually grind in the offseason. I feel like it showed up a little bit toward the end of the season. »
Cohen struggled to find momentum as the season wore on. He was unable to take over games like he did in 2018 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (53 yards rushing, 121 yards receiving and a touchdown) and New York Giants (30 yards rushing, 156 yards receiving).
« I didn’t feel the same explosion that I would usually feel, the same speed and the same fire, » said Cohen. « Also, having a losing season would make you feel that way, but mostly I feel like it was that fact that I didn’t have the best offseason that I could have had last year. »
Cohen says that the tweaks in the offense should positively affect the run game, which Cohen believes to be « 10 times better already » than last season. He is particularly impressed by the changes implemented by new offensive line coach Juan Castillo.
« Coach Juan’s scheme that he has for us is going to work wonders for us, » said Cohen, « how me, David (Montgomery), CP (Cordarelle Patterson), Ryan (Nall), and Artavis (Pierce) love to run the ball. So I feel like it’s going to be great. »
Montgomery’s progress as a second-year player may prove to be critical for a potential bounce-back for Cohen. Cohen has proven to be an explosive complement to an established inside rushing attack. Cohen is optimistic about Montgomery’s progress.
« David has been looking amazing, » said Cohen. « You know, he plays with a chip on his shoulder anyway. The way he runs the ball, you can always see how passionate he is about the game. You can see where he comes from in the way he runs. »
Cohen believes that the team is establishing an identity on offense, even with the open quarterback competition between Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles.
« I feel like it’s not really that hard, » said Cohen. « Quarterback is the biggest role on the offense, but you can definitely build your identity with all the other players on the offense. It goes into a big role with all the other players coming together, and us as a unit, just not one person or one position. It’s going to take the whole offense. »
First-year Bears offensive line coach Juan Castillo is giving more leadership responsibilities to center Cody Whitehair—and the veteran lineman is enjoying the expanded role.
Coach Matt Nagy revealed that the Bears plan to keep two kickers this season. The team has yet to decide whether both will be on the 53-man roster or one will be kept on the practice squad.
Once a big Jimmy Graham fan, rookie tight end Cole Kmet is thrilled that the player he admired as a kid is quickly becoming his mentor with the Bears.
In what coach Matt Nagy described as « the year of the contingency plan, » the Bears moved Sunday’s practice from 9:20 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. following nine false positive COVID-19 tests.
Dripping with sweat while working out during a video call with the media, Bears star outside linebacker Khalil Mack candidly discussed his determination to rebound this season after not performing up to his own high standards last year.
The Bears on Saturday continued to prepare for their Sept. 13 season opener in Detroit, holding their first live-tackling periods of training camp during a scrimmage-like practice at Halas Hall.
Bears running back David Montgomery slimmed down in the offseason by changing his diet, hoping to be more productive in his second NFL season than he was as a rookie last year.
Bears receivers coach Mike Furrey is pleased with the progress that third-year pro Javon Wims is making in training camp, especially in regard to working diligently to improve weaknesses in his game.
Veteran safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. talks about the Bears defense, defending tight ends and his position battle against Deon Bush.
New Bears tight end Jimmy Graham appears to be a man on a mission early in training camp, consistently displaying energy, competitiveness and playmaking ability in practice.
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