All the talk this offseason for the Chicago Bears has centered around the shiny new things. Matt Nagy and his revamped coaching staff. People wonder what they have planned on offense. Mitch Trubisky entering his all-important second year. Now he’s surrounded by a glutton of weapons that include Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, and Trey Burton. However, amidst the chaos, most can’t forget the real engine of this offense:  Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen.

The Bears offense racked up 4,599 yards in 2017. Those two accounted for 1,970 of those yards, or 42.83%. It’s hard to imagine how bad things might’ve been if they hadn’t been on the field all season without injury. Now it will be less about necessity with them. The Bears, hopefully, won’t lean on them to do everything but can make them one of several parts of a devastating offensive machine.

That aside it’s interesting to wonder where this pairing rank in the view of the national media. Bears fans finally got an answer.

Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen are among the best but have work to do

Ask Howard and Cohen themselves and they’d say they’re the best. Bucky Brooks isn’t there yet. The former scout and analyst released his rankings for the best running back duos in football. Chicago got a strong placement but one thing is clear:  there is still plenty of respect left to earn.

“4) Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears: For a team that won just five games in 2017, the Bears have plenty of reasons for optimism heading into the new season. And a lot of the positive vibes spawn from this 1-2 backfield punch, which gave opponents fits last fall.

Howard has eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing in each of his first two NFL seasons, exhibiting a one-cut running style that is ideally suited for rugged runs between the tackles. Cohen is a 5-6, 181-pound jitterbug with explosive stop-start quickness and wiggle. He routinely makes defenders miss in tight quarters and is nearly impossible to snag in the open field.

As a designated receiver out of the backfield, Cohen exhibits Darren Sproles-like playmaking ability, but he is more polished and refined as a pass catcher. Considering Matt Nagy’s experience working with versatile playmakers in Kansas City, the Bears’ backfield could be a treat to watch in 2018.”

The scariest thing about Howard and Cohen isn’t just their ability. It’s their age. Howard is 23 and Cohen is 22. That makes them the youngest combination on the list with their best years still ahead of them. It’s hard to imagine how much better they can get given what’s been seen thus far. Never mind their being placed in a new, more modern offense.

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It wouldn’t surprise if they end up claiming that coveted #1 spot away from Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. Either way, it’s another thing that bodes well for the present and future of this franchise. When the Bears run the ball well, they tend to win a lot of ball games.