Snap Judgment: Bears still need to get Tarik Cohen more involved
A look at the playing time distribution on both sides of the ball after the Bears’ 16-6 win over the Vikings. Snap counts show what they’re thinking in the running game, in their defensive front and other areas.
The Bears are in a good spot at 3-1, tied with the Packers atop the NFC North, and just need to get through the Raiders game this weekend to catch their breath on the bye week.
Before moving on from the 16-6 win over the Vikings, here are some notes from on playing time distribution from that game:
Less Cohen, more Wims?
Running back Tarik Cohen still hasn’t gotten going yet and he played just 28 snaps against the Vikings. It was his second-lowest allotment of the season. Cohen got five carries for 11 yards and was targeted five times, resulting in two catches for 7 yards.
He is at 116 yards from scrimmage this season and has played 54.1 percent of the offensive snaps, which is actually up from 46 percent last season.
With Taylor Gabriel out because of a concussion, coach Matt Nagy could have shifted Cohen to receiver. But he said recently he’s inclined to keep him at running back.
Instead, Javon Wims led all skill players by playing 68 of 72 snaps (94 percent) and cashed in with four catches for 56 yards. Wims’ previous career-high was 21 snaps in the late-season game at Minnesota last year.
Work in progress
The Bears would really benefit from a ground game, especially when they’re having quarterback issues. They’re 25th in the NFL in yards per game (90.3) and 26th in yards per carry (3.6).
The future of their rushing attack hinges on rookie David Montgomery. He played a season-high 50 snaps (69 percent), Cohen was at 39 percent and the Bears didn’t dress any other running back with Mike Davis out because of a personal issue.
Montgomery got 21 of 33 carries and was targeted five times, meaning he was the intended player on 36 percent of the Bears’ offensive plays. That’s by far the most on the team. Next was Cohen at 14 percent.
Montgomery was sturdy on the ground, but managed just 53 yards for a 2.5 average. He was fine, but the offense would transform if the ground game started producing more. Nagy has made it clear he’s riding with Montgomery, and he must use that opportunity. Through four games, Montgomery is averaging 3.4 yards per carry and 4 yards per touch.
With major issues on the defensive line, the Bears leaned on Roy Robertson-Harris for 61 percent of the snaps, followed by Nick Williams at 60 percent and Eddie Goldman at 53 percent.
Those three had quite a workload with Akiem Hicks and Bilal Nichols out. Off the bench, the Bears played Abdullah Anderson 22 snaps and Jonathan Harris six.
The Bears’ secondary gets overlooked sometimes because of their pass rush, but those two groups cover for each other. Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller have been terrific at cornerback so far — Amukamara probably played his best game of the season Sunday — and safeties Eddie Jackson and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix have also looked good.
While those four ballhawks weren’t able to grab an interception off Kirk Cousins, they were a big factor in his pedestrian performance. Also, all four of them played every snap.
Slot cornerback Buster Skrine played just 44 snaps (71 percent) after logging 60-plus each of the last two games. Part of that was because the Bears had their most dominant time of possession game of the season at 35:27 to 24:33.
Khalil Mack’s playing time is always worth watching as the Bears try to keep him as close as possible to full speed over the course of the season. He played a season-low 50 snaps (81 percent) against Minnesota—again, the time of possession helped the Bears. He is averaging 59 per game.
With Roquan Smith out because of a personal issue, the Bears played inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski on 55 percent of their snaps. Smith was near 100 percent through three games.
Three Bears are still perfect: Left tackle Charles Leno, left guard Cody Whitehair and center James Daniels have played every snap. Fuller leads the defense at 99.5 percent, playing 218 of 219 snaps.