Bears

It wasn't even an actual Bear: Anything bother you about the Oscars?

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It wasn't even an actual Bear: Anything bother you about the Oscars?

Leonardo DiCaprio pulled down this year’s Academy Award for Best Actor. Some thoughts here.

DiCaprio was up for Best Actor because of being mauled by a bear. And he wasn’t even actually mauled by the bear, which wasn’t even actually a bear, come to think of it. Good special effects. And DiCaprio’s pulling down $20 million for the gig, which let him do as many takes of those scenes as he needed for getting it right.

So here’s Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler — who was mauled in real life by one, two, three, four, five actual Bears in the Broncos’ Nov. 22 win over the Bears — didn’t get to do even one of those scenes over in a re-take, and he isn’t sure he’s going to get anything close to $20 million in his new Denver contract.

DiCaprio is part of the $20 Million Club along with Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr. and a few others who take away $20 million or more per film. Per film. One film. And that’s one film in which the performer gets as many do-overs as he or she or the director or whoever decides is needed.

Out of curiosity I popped in the tape of Super Bowl 50, Cam Newton fumbling and not falling on the football fast enough to suit critics.

I waited. No do-overs. Newton didn’t get another take.

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It was news when Harrison Ford broke a leg (no, really, not just “break a leg” in thespian parlance) in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." Ford banked somewhere between $10 million and $20 million, depending on reports, from that film. When Joe Theismann breaks a leg on Monday Night Football, he gets an injury settlement.

Rants about the stratospheric pay for athletes is beyond cliché. Why isn’t that applied actors, putting DiCaprio, Damon and the rest on par with, say, Peyton Manning? That is really a bit insulting to Manning, who needed neck surgery bordering on life-altering because of what he’s endured from actual Lions. Meanwhile, Michael Douglas pocketed $15 million for playing a lion-killer in "The Ghost and the Darkness," playing a character that not only didn’t get savaged by lions in real life but didn’t even exist, period. But did anyone question whether he was worth $15 million?

None of this is intended as commentary on what the pay scale is for actors, quarterbacks, teachers, police officers, firefighters, sportswriters or anyone else. Just sayin’.

Bears backfield ranked fourth-best in NFL

Bears backfield ranked fourth-best in NFL

The Chicago Bears have a really good problem in their backfield. Both Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen will demand touches in 2018 and are each starting-quality running backs. Howard is the more traditional first and second-down back while Cohen offers top-tier playmaking ability.

The duo is so talented that they were recently ranked the fourth-best backfield in the NFL.

The Chicago Bears' Jordan Howard has emerged as one of the NFL's top rushers. He finished his rookie season with 1,313 yards, second-most in the NFL. Last season, he rushed for 1,122 yards and 4.1 yards per carry even though Chicago had the league's least threatening passing attack (175.7 yards per game).

Howard isn't the only standout back on the roster, though. Tarik Cohen is a supremely talented runner and receiver and a perfect complement to Howard. Last season, he amassed 370 rushing yards, 53 receptions and 353 receiving yards.

The Bears' backfield was behind only the Rams, Saints and Chiefs.

Howard set Chicago's rookie rushing record with 1,313 yards in 2016 and became the first Bears running back to start his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He should be the Bears' primary back, but coach Matt Nagy expressed genuine excitement over Cohen's skill set which suggests he plans on getting him the ball quite a bit this season.

Regardless of how the touches play out, the Bears will present opposing defenses with one of the most challenging ground games in the NFL.

    Tarik Cohen was NFL's best big-play RB in 2017

    Tarik Cohen was NFL's best big-play RB in 2017

    Tarik Cohen's rookie season with the Chicago Bears was an impressive blend of running, receiving and special teams play. He quickly became a household name. The combination of his diminutive frame and oversized personality made him a fan favorite, especially when he started gaining yards in chunks.

    In fact, of all running backs with a minimum of 80 carries last season, Cohen had the highest percentage of runs that went for 15 or more yards, according to Pro Football Focus.

    Cohen will have a big role in new coach Matt Nagy's offense this season because of everything he offers a play-caller. He's a weapon as a receiver out of the backfield and can chew up yards on the ground like any traditional running back. He's a hold-your-breath talent who can turn a bad play into a touchdown in the blink of an eye.

    Cohen had 370 rushing yards, 353 receiving yards and three offensive touchdowns in what can be described as a limited role last year. John Fox and Dowell Loggains didn't seem to ever figure out how to best use Cohen's skill set. That should be no issue for Nagy and Mark Helfrich, the team's new offensive coordinator, who both bring a creative offensive approach to Chicago.

    Jordan Howard will be the starter and will do most of the heavy lifting. But Cohen is going to have a much bigger role than he had as a rookie, and that should result in more big plays and points on the board.