- Tarik Cohen
All 66 inches and 179 pounds of Tarik Cohen were on full display this past Sunday as he set a new record for most all-purpose yards (154) in a Chicago Bears debut. No small feat considering the previous record of 148 had stood since 1944 when Bob Margarita lit up the Green Bay Packers. Cohen, nicknamed “the human joystick,” possess the ability to change directions on a dime which gave the Atlanta Falcons fits all game long while taking the ball out of backfield. He also showed he is a threat in the passing game as he led the Bears with 12 targets, catching eight for 47 yards and a touchdown. As Mike Glennon said “The secret’s out,” and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers know Cohen is a potential game-changer. This week, Bears fans will get to see how Cohen reacts to a defense that has a full week of preparation and film study to counter what he brings to the Bears.
- Mike Glennon
Don’t let the fourth quarter fool you, Mike Glennon was not good in his Bears debut. Glennon did not hurt the Bears in the way the Bears are used to, AKA turnovers. Glennon hurt the Bears in an entirely different way by showcasing an inability to make plays or throw an accurate football. Regardless of the group around him, throwing for 50 yards in the first three quarters of the game is a clear-cut display of bad football. Glennon often overthrew, underthrew or threw behind the Bears receivers forcing a un-skilled group to make skilled catches.
Now, I’m not one of the people clamoring for Trubisky to start over the Glennon simply because I don’t believe throwing a rookie quarterback into a tough situation when he isn’t ready to start is a bad idea. But, if Glennon wants to silence Chicago’s SCREAMS for Trubisky he needs to have a strong showing against the Bucs this weekend. Hopefully Glennon can perform well enough to be the Bears starter while they wait for Trubisky to be ready to take over the reigns.
- Tanner Gentry
Gentry was brought onto the Bears 95-man preseason roster via undrafted free-agency out of Wyoming. Gentry had a strong showing with the second team in the preseason hauling in four receptions for 77 yards in limited action including a 45-yard touchdown reception from Mitchell Trubisky. Gentry made a strong case for making the Bears 53-man roster but had to settle for a practice squad role with the organization. With the injuries to Cameron Meredith and Kevin White, Gentry will try to become the receiver the Bears desperately need.
- Nick Kwiatkoski
Kwiatkoski was a fourth round pick for the Bear in the 2016 draft and was forced into action last year due to the injury to Danny Trevathan. A similar situation is forcing Kwiatkoski into action this year, linebacker Jerrell Freeman suffered a season ending on the first play of the Bears loss to the Falcons last week. Kwiatkoski will take over the starting role and has some big shoes to fill as Freeman found a way to lead the Bears in tackles last year (110) despite missing four games due to suspension. The Bears appear to have genuine confidence in Kwiatkoski’s ability to take over the defense and has received high praise from defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who seems to be incapable to lie. This Sunday and the rest of the season will serve as a audition tape for Kwiatoski’s future role with the Chicago Bears.
- Zack Miller/Adam Shaheen/Dion Sims
Someone has to catch the ball in Chicago and throwing checkdowns to the running backs all game long isn’t going to win you many games. The Bears need their tight end group to become much more involved in the passing game and try to create a spark for this depleted offense. Miller has proven he can make plays in the passing game throughout his career but he has also proven he’s more likely than not to end the season on injured reserve. If healthy, Miller should see the most targets of his career and become an integral part of the passing game.
Pace received a lot of gripe over his 2017 draft this past april for trading up and drafting a quarterback second overall, taking a 5’6’’ running back in the fourth round and using a second round selection on a tight end who played division two football. So far, most of those criticisms have been silenced by the play of those players and now it’s Shaheen’s turn. Shaheen will be asked to play a large role in the passing game and his athleticism at 6’6’’ is impressive but he needs to show he’s ready for this level of competition.
Dion Sims is most known for his ability to block which will be a necessity for the Bears since everyone knows they plan to run the ball all year long but he is a very capable pass catcher as well. Sims is not a great at getting open against man-to-man coverage however, he excels at finding the soft spots in zone coverage.
With the receivers being a weakness and the tight ends a strength, the Bears will need significant production from these three guys.