In a way, Chicago Bears Head Coach John Fox took responsibility for Tarik Cohen’s decreasing snap count when he told reporters “the buck stops here” regarding playing time decisions. But Fox also opened a bit of a window into the world of his decision-making regarding the matter.
Fox hinted at Cohen not being ready to handle the load of being the main back in two-minute situations and third down, suggesting the team prefers veteran Benny Cunningham in those situations because he is better in pass protection. Cunningham saw the field on 46 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in Sunday’s loss against the Green Bay Packers and played just one fewer snap than starter Jordan Howard.
Offensive Coordinator Dowell Loggains echoed the head coach’s sentiments during his meeting with the media on Wednesday. The Bears’ offensive coordinator told reporters two things Cohen needed to work on were pass protection and getting a better grasp of the fine details of being a receiver.
That Cohen has gone from the player Loggains declared as the team’s best playmaker back in October to not being involved in the two-minute offense 11 weeks into the season is a bit concerning. Yes, Cohen is far from a finished product. He is a fourth-round pick from a small school in his rookie season, but we can’t help but wonder whether or not he should be more developed at this stage of the season. Then again, it’s hard to develop necessary skills when you’re not getting steady in-game reps.
It’s not as if the Bears haven’t continuously added responsibilities to Cohen as the season has progressed. In addition to punt and kick returns, the Bears have lined up Cohen as a receiver outside the numbers and in the slot. And we can’t forget he’s also the team’s Wildcat quarterback – with a pretty good arm and a perfect passer rating, too.
Cohen’s declining playing time despite adding responsibilities is a bit perplexing. But having quarterback Mitch Trubisky in his corner probably won’t hurt his case for more playing time.