One of the few memorable moments from the Bears offense in Sunday's 36-25 loss to the New Orleans Saints was actually something running back Tarik Cohen, and vertically-challenged Bears fans across the country, would like to forget.
With less than five minutes remaining in the game, Cohen caught a pass out of the backfield that resulted in a short gain (no pun intended). To his credit, Cohen trucked Saints defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson before being thrown to the ground and, as Cohen's known to do from time to time, began barking at New Orleans coach Sean Payton and those Saints defenders.
Gardner-Johnson responded by mocking Cohen's 5-6 frame.
Cohen, who's used the doubt about his size as a motivator throughout his career, seemed unfazed by it all.
It seems to me like Gardner-Johnson, who Cohen ran over and was the principle trash-talker, may have done so to salvage some of the pride that Cohen knocked from his bigger frame.
Kudos to Cohen for taking it all in stride and for continuing to be one of the Bears' most important players on and off the field.
For as much as Bears fans despise Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, it's fair to say he's a smart guy both on and off the field. And when his team traded up to select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft, he knew the end of his run in Green Bay is coming sooner than maybe anyone would've expected.
“You know, based on just the circumstances around everything when you just look at the facts," Rodgers said on the '10 questions with Kyle Brandt' podcast. "They traded up, they drafted him (Love). I would say they like him, they want to play him.”
Rodgers explained the difference between when the Packers selected him in the first round despite Brett Favre still playing at a high level, and now.
“It’s a different environment. In 2005, my first year we were 4-12, second year, we were 8-8. There wasn’t a clamoring to play me because it was normal for young guys to sit. In the third year, ’07, we go 13-3. We’re one play, we’re overtime in the NFC Championship playing at home against the Giants from going to the Super Bowl. Different scenario. Now, I think quarterbacks are playing earlier. It gives some latitude for young coaches and GMs to play their guys. And I get it. I really do.”
Rodgers admitted that his time as a Packer will likely end because of a decision made by the front office, not him. And what about playing for the Bears? Is that something Rodgers would consider?
“Oh man, that’s a tough thought right there, man,” he said.
It's really hard to find one quality starting offensive tackle in the NFL, let alone two. Whether either of the Bears' starting tackles qualifies as a quality player is up for debate, but both Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie are, at the very least, competent starters in the league.
According to the analytics team at Pro Football Focus, neither Leno nor Massie ranks as a top-25 player at their position, however. Both Bears starters were left off of PFF's new list of the game's 25 best blindside protectors, one that included Giants rookie first-round pick, Andrew Thomas.
Massie was the Bears' 11th highest-graded player on offense in 2020, finishing the season with a 63.2 grade from PFF. It was the worst season score Massie's received in his career. As for Leno, he finished 2019 with a 58.6, which was his worst mark since his rookie season (53.6).
Massie was PFF's 65th overall tackle last year, while Leno was 87th. It's easy to see why they were left off the list.
The NFC North wasn't entirely blanked. David Bakhtiari (Packers) ranked third overall, while Taylor Decker (Lions) was 23rd.