Much has been made of Mitch Trubisky's regression in 2019 when his career outlook went from a player on the rise to a quarterback in a competition for the starting job this summer. The defense received its fair share of criticism, too, after failing to live up to the lofty preseason expectations that surrounded the group. But not much attention has been paid to Tarik Cohen, whose disappearing act from the offense was one of the team's biggest setbacks.
Cohen emerged as a true offensive weapon for Matt Nagy in 2018 after setting career highs in rushing yards (444) and receiving yards (725). His eight total touchdowns were also a career watermark.
Cohen was anything but a weapon last season, however. His combined yardage was less than what he totaled as a receiver the year before. Not great.
So, what gives? According to Cohen, part of the reason for his regression was his body. The wear and tear of 2019 took its toll.
‘‘I’ve been doing yoga now, stretching more often and just like the small training room — in-house things you do to keep your body durable,’’ Cohen said. ‘‘And to keep the wear-and-tear of the season off of you longer. I really slacked on that. I always had older guys that would keep me on that, keep me in line.’’
The older vet Cohen is referring to is Benny Cunningham, who the Bears released last August.
An explanation for Cohen's lack of production helps, at least a little. But it's concerning what that explanation is. Now entering this fourth season in the league, Cohen should be fully assimilated to life in the NFL and what he has to do to keep his body fresh for a full 16 games. It's details like this that can quickly turn a team from a 12-4 contender into a middling 8-8 club.
Cohen should have some extra motivation to be at his best in 2020. He's scheduled for unrestricted free agency next offseason and if he produces like he did in 2018, he'll be an appealing target for teams looking to add a satellite back.