Former NFL head coach Marty Schottenheimer had a great line about the reality of being a head coach in the league in regards to personal feelings about players. “Right, wrong, or otherwise you have favorites.” This is a reality that new Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy is going to face as he embarks on his own career running a franchise. While it’s his job to motivate and elevate the entire roster, he inevitably will have favorites among them.
The obvious choice based on early impressions for Nagy would be Mitch Trubisky. The two hit it off from the moment they met before the draft a year ago. Their relationship is going to determine just how good this Bears team becomes in the months and years ahead. One would imagine the young QB is firmly established as the favorite.
Well based on reactions from team practices, that may not be the case. Nagy took time after the teams’ second OTA to talk about his impressions of the offense so far. He liked what he saw from tight end Adam Shaheen and is encouraged by the progress Kyle Long and Allen Robinson are making in their returns from injury though.
Yet his most animated response was saved for another.
Matt Nagy is already a huge fan of Tarik Cohen
One thing that became clear during the practice was how the Bears offense was utilizing running back Tarik Cohen. It’s clear they have big plans for him. Nagy could barely contain himself when talking about the young running back.
“He’s actually the one kid on this team that I knew had a lot of talent, but he comes out here and runs every route the right way, catches most balls and he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. You see how he is in the meetings rooms: he listens to the play and when he comes out here, how serious he is and he knows how to have fun. He’s a player that you get giddy about, but you also know you got other players too. You can feel where I’m at on that.”
It’s not hard to understand why Nagy is excited. Cohen features many of the same skills that made Tyreek Hill so electric in that same offense with the Chiefs. He can line up almost anywhere and be considered a threat thanks you pass catching ability. In fact, he might be more dangerous due to his ability as a running back whereas Hill is a wide receiver.
Either way, it’s clear the Bears have even bigger plans for Cohen moving forward and Nagy can barely contain himself.