While size alone may have put him on an unlikely path to the NFL. Tarik Cohen is proving the power in adopting a winning mentality leads to superior play.
His unlikely size yielded only one offer to play fooball at the college level which created an unlikely path to getting drafted, from a small HBCU college, into the NFL. Based on his size, even coaches and the Bears organization predetermined that it was unlikely that he could handle the typical workload of an NFL running back. Problem is, if you just put a player in just on special situations, defenses will key in on him. Luckily, the Bears’ coaches realized that they need his energy and play making ability on the field as much as possible. And, just by having him on the field gives opposing defenses something else to worry about.
From age 8 when he stated playing football, he developed an unwavering passion for the game and held on to his dream of playing in the NFL until it became a reality. But, just getting drafted in the NFL, didn’t guaranty Cohen a spot on the team. So, he had to work hard to prove his play on a daily basis, impressing the coaches, players, and fans. If not, he ran the risk of having his childhood dream snatched away before he could get comfortable.
Once considered a third down type joker back by coaches, his work ethnic and approach to the game has led him to being a running back, receiver, punt returner, quarterback, and lately superman. In his first rushing touchdown, he jumped in the air and it appeared he would not cross the goal line, but he did a little wiggle in the air, flew another foot, and successfully broke the plane.
If you haven’t heard many interviews by Tarik Cohen, you may have missed some of the principles he believes in that gives him a winner’s mentality.
“I have 24 hours in the day to put in the work to be just as good or better than everyone else.”
Hard work pays off. Despite his size, Cohen believes that if he puts in the work, he will have a shot at making a difference in the game,creating a spark or a big play to get the team motivated.
“I try to get 1% better each day.”
Most people set their expectations low so they are not disappointed if they don’t reach their goal. Cohen turns his goal of 1% improvement daily into an amount he is likely to exceed without getting mentally overwhelmed. And, on a monthly basis, it equates to 30% improvement per month which is substantial.
“Never let one man beat you.”
When two people face off. The one with the most confidence will likely win the battle. Confidence is built through discipline, hard work, and training.
“I feel like I’m bigger than everyone else on the field.”
Tarik doesn’t let his size limit him physically or mentally. When other players see a small 5’6″ player, his power and explosiveness becomes deceiving. He uses his size and elusiveness to his advantage. Where others would seek to avoid contact, he doesn’t mind evading or taking it head on.
“I feel like I will make several big plays per game.”
After realizing that Cohen could somewhat do on the field what he was able to do in college, he got a big confidence boost. Every time he touches the ball he looks to make an impact. Now, his main focus is just having a great week of practice, trust that he can go out on game day and just be himself, have fun, and play hard.
“No moment is too big.”
Cohen never misses an opportunity to make a big play or spark his team. Most recently, down a score, he took he kick off return to the 43 yard line of the Saints giving the offense one last opportunity to try and tie the game. Although we would come up short, he covered a lot of field and made the team come back a lot more probable.
“I love a challenge.”
Since Cohen was young, he has been challenged by players at every level primarily due to his size. Whether he’s playing a board game, racing his brother, or out on the footbal field, he wants to be the best. He is and will be an instrumental piece of tbe Bears offense for years to come and is still proving that he can stand up to the challenge of playing football at the professional level. I predict he only gets better each year.
“I’m a winner.”
Last but not least, you are what you think you are. Cohen flat out said in his interview with Jeff Joniak, I’m a winner. If you you believe it and you put in the work, then you become it.
The Bears have got to find a way to get the ball in his hands more. The Bears running backs set up perfectly for an effective screen pass game similar to the Saints. I wish they would develop some 5 to 7 yard, quick passes to get the ball out of Trubisky’s hands and allow Cohen some room to create out in space. If he doesn’t get any YAC, it’s still a good gain. But, if he can make a guy or two miss, it’s BIG play time and we are dancin’ in the south endzone!
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