With the loss of Tarik Cohen, the Chicago Bears could decide to pick up a change of pace running back to give them what they lost.
Looking at the Chicago Bears roster, it seems that the running backs unit could be its strongest one on the roster. They have two strong players in David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert. This offseason, they claimed Darrynton Evans off of waivers. Evans was the Tennessee Titans’ third-round pick in 2020. Things didn’t work out with the Titans but a change of scenery could do Evans some good.
Additionally, the Bears signed Khari Blasingame as the fullback. In offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s offense, there is a need for a good fullback.
Despite having a strong presence at running back, the Bears could still add someone else. At the NFL Combine, head coach Matt Eberflus talked about needing a change of pace runner.
We have to have runners, you know, different pace runners. We have a good runner now. We’re going to add some other pieces in there, potentially.
Montgomery and Herbert are tough, gritty runners. They can take hits and bounce off to gain more yards. Montgomery in particular is difficult to bring down cleanly. During his first three years in the league, he ranks among the leaders in broken tackles. Evans has more of a burst to him and can run away from defenders.
Having Blasingame could really help the running backs. He can help open holes for them to run through. That helps the offensive line. Having a line that constantly struggles ended up having Montgomery continually get hit behind the line of scrimmage. Getting the yards he did sometimes was a minor miracle. The line doesn’t look as if it’s any better this season, however, so having a fullback will help.
Ep 100: Divisional Round Preview: Who Is Headed To Championship Sunday?
by Full Press Coverage on January 21, 2023 at 12:19 pm
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Need a replacement for Cohen
What the Bears running game needs is a replacement for Tarik Cohen. Cohen was a speedy back who came out of the backfield to help the passing game. Montgomery has certainly improved his catching out of the backfield but Cohen added a lot. He caught passes out of the backfield but also lined up in the slot to be an added wide receiver.
It is unlikely that Poles picks someone up in the draft. The Bears have too many holes to fill and not enough draft picks to spend on a position that is already strong. Yes, he could trade one of his second-round picks to move down and acquire more picks, but, as I mentioned, there are a lot of holes to fill.
There are still some free agents Poles can go after. He’s been finding economical deals for lower-tiered players. He can acquire a talented runner at a great deal. Seeing how devalued the running back position is today, picking one up late will end up not costing very much.
One running back Poles is familiar with is Jerick McKinnon. He adds the same dimension Cohen did. In addition, he was a big part of the Kansas City Chiefs’ postseason run last season. In the playoffs, he had to step in and did a good job, totaling 150 rushing yards on 34 carries, 14 receptions for 165 receiving yards, and a touchdown over that three-game stretch.
The Chiefs decided to go with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones so McKinnon is available.
Of course, Poles comes from the Chiefs so he knows McKinnon. The familiarity could help bring the back to Chicago. McKinnon has had some injury concerns but with the strong unit in Chicago, he doesn’t need to carry the load. That’s for Montgomery and Herbert to do. McKinnon can come in and give what Eberflus said the offense needs — a change of pace runner.
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