Tarik Cohen doesn’t consider himself to be an underdog, but the Chicago Bears rookie running back will be fighting for playing time behind some established veterans in the team’s running backs room.
In the latest “Meet the Rookies” segment, get to know a player who could potentially be the most exciting rookie to take the field in 2017 for Chicago:
- One of the running backs who will be ahead of Cohen on the depth chart is Jordan Howard, a second-year player coming off a Pro Bowl season who has set some lofty expectations for the 2017 year. And while the sophomore slump tends to rear its ugly head often in the NFL, Lester Wiltfong Jr. of Windy City Gridiron explains why Howard (as well as fellow second-year standouts Leonard Floyd and Cody Whitehair) will be the exception to the rule.
- Charles Leno Jr. is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and CSN Chicago’s Chris Boden wonders if Leno is a long-term solution at left tackle. Leno says he is ready to take the next step, and knows that things will take care of themselves if he takes care of business on the field. The fourth-year tackle has all the motivation in the world to make 2017 his best season, as a significant payday (and possibly an extension from the Bears) looms if he can prove to be healthy, reliable, and productive in his contract year.
- Like Leno, Hicks had a lot to play for in 2017, too. Especially if he can replicate what he did in 2016:
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 20, 2017
- Ranking third in pass rush productivity says a lot about how well Hicks performed from the defensive interior last year. Even still, Hicks will need more help from his teammates so this stat matters more. Opponents converted 40.5 percent of their third down attempts into first downs, meaning the Bears had the 11th worst success rate against offenses. It all adds up to too many first downs for a defense that can’t afford to stay on the field for too long.
- Senior NFL media analyst Gil Brandt unveils his list of the 30 best running backs of all time, which features a pair of Chicago Bears legends. Both Walter Payton and Gale Sayers made the top-5, but the biggest surprise was the inclusion of one rookie standout back who debuted in 2016.
- The Green Bay Packers had the 31st ranked pass defense in 2016, and the last time we saw them, Matt Ryan was putting their season on ice with a flurry of touchdown passes. Just don’t tell defensive tackle Mike Daniels that unit was weak. Daniels said the group “did a heck of a job,” and cited youth and inexperience for some of that group’s struggles, but also noted the defense finished in the top 10 in rushing defense and sacks. Knowing the unit needed work, Green Bay drafted a defensive player with each of its first four picks.
- Moving on from the Packers to a long-time Packers tormentor, Randy Moss provides an explanation for his famous touchdown celebration in which he pantomimed mooning fans at Lambeau Field after a touchdown.
- Warren Sapp made seven Pro Bowl teams, and won a Super Bowl in 2002 during his 13-year career. On Tuesday, the Pro Football Hall of Famer announced he was donating his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation for research after his death. Sapp, 44, cited memory concerns and said he hoped his donation could help future players avoid concussions and permanent brain damage.
- The Bears aren’t going to be in the market to draft a quarterback in the first round in 2018. But if they were, Josh Rosen would be a player they might have their eyes on. Daniel Jeremiah offers up a first-look scouting report on the UCLA signal caller, who is coming off a season that ended with him having surgery.
- An early number has been set for Mitch Trubisky starts, according to Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune. As much as I’d like to see Trubisky learn the ropes before jumping into NFL action, I would probably bet the over here:
— Rich Campbell (@Rich_Campbell) June 20, 2017