In light of all the bad to mediocre quarterbacks we’ve had over the years along with the controversy surrounding the position, the Bears have had a history of finding some truly work horse running backs to carry the offensive load especially when play calling or the O-Line has been dubious at best. Our running backs have been so good, it never really bothered us not having a system that employed a one two punch when it came to our running game.
Fast forward to today, it may be just the perscription we need to have a successful season AND team for the foreseeable future. Sometimes the best defense is an offense that can stay on the field. An offense that can run the ball, not only sets up the pass but controls the game, wears down opposing defenses, and hopefully scores touchdowns.
As a fan, I’ve longed for a one two punch like Tampa Bay had when Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott were on the team. In fact, I went to a game in Tampa where my cousin almost passed out from the heat only to watch that duo trample all over our defense. Boom! I can still here that cannon going off when they scored a touchdown.
Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen have two totally different running styles, motivated for two totally different reasons, but both are consummate pros, humble, and can put their egos aside to do whatever it takes to bring W’s back to a city that has ONLY seen four home wins TOTAL in the last two seasons.
I have a lot of respect for Jordan Howard, running to preserve the memory and the legacy of his father. And, an equal amount for Tarik Cohen (carrying a huge chip on his shoulder) who is on a quest to dismantle stereotypes about small players from small (HBCU) schools and their ability to have an impact at the pro level.
Having Cohen will take a little bit of pressure off Howard but he will also provide a competitive spark for the rest of the running backs. We won’t see a sophomore slump from Howard. That’s not him. He’s not built like that. Howard will play loose and free this year, pounding between the tackles for big gains. When he played early in the season last year, the offense was effective. When they took him out, it wasn’t. By the time he was starting, it was too late. I’ve been saying since last year, if Jordan was the starter from day one, Jay Cutler might still be here (a thought most fans don’t want to hear or think about). But, all things happen for a reason. We have a semi-clean slate and are officially on to the next era of Bears football.
If Cohen keeps making big plays, turning on his jets to the outside, dazzling us with more Cirque du Soleilesque moves, rolling over defenders backs, many of us will be hanging on the edge of our seats like kids waiting for the next act.
I don’t know whether to hug Ryan Pace or smack him for scaring us with all the risks he took in the draft. So far, it looks like he has acquired some very solid building blocks for the future and I look forward to watching from the south endzone this season.