Matt Nagy, the current offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs, was officially be announced as the next head coach of the Chicago Bears today. While much of the buzz has been focused on his ability to develop and progress Mitchell Trubisky to the next level, the silver lining may be in his ability to enhance Chicago’s running game.
The Bears finished 16th in rush yards per game this season, as well as dead last in pass yards per game. With that, as a team the Chicago Bears became one dimensional, leading to some very predictable play calling. “Run, Run, Pass” is something fans have heard all season. Despite that, Jordan Howard rushed for 1,122 yards on just 276 carries, becoming the only running back in Bears history to run for 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons.
There’s no doubt that the Bears have a special player in Howard, and his future has only become brighter with Nagy at the helm. The Chiefs finished ninth in rush yards per game this season, while also producing the league’s leading rusher Kareem Hunt, whose running style is quite similar to Howard’s. To compliment that, the Chiefs also finished seventh in passing yards per game and fifth in total offense. Considering that the Bears finished dead last in passing yards this year, there’s truly nowhere to go but up, from here. The hopes and beliefs are that the Bears will no longer be one dimensional, therefore opening up more running lanes for the likes of Howard and Tarik Cohen.
Although there is no doubt that Howard will shine, Cohen may benefit the most out of anybody on the offense. The rookie amassed 1,578 all-purpose yards in his first season with the Bears, while also scoring in four different phases, rushing, receiving, returning, and even passing. While he may not be the next starting quarterback, he has truly revealed himself as the team’s much-needed jack of all trades. Unfortunately, the Bears coaching staff seemingly had no clue how to utilize his skill set, leaving him off the field in many situations down the stretch, despite having the highest playmaking ability on the roster.
The Chiefs had a similar weapon on offense in wide receiver Tyreek Hill who benefited greatly in this sort of position, catching 75 passes for over 1,100 yards this season, while also having 20 total touchdowns in just his second year in the league. You can almost guarantee that Cohen will show improved numbers this upcoming season with Nagy calling the plays, especially with his ability to catch out of the backfield.
Establishing a dominant ground game may just be the key for the Chicago Bears to take the next step forward.