Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bears rookie Tarik Cohen 'hell' to contain, Bucs defensive back says

Tarik Cohen of the Chicago Bears avoids a tackle attempt by Brooks Reed of the Atlanta Falcons Sept. 10 in Chicago. [Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]

Tarik Cohen of the Chicago Bears avoids a tackle attempt by Brooks Reed of the Atlanta Falcons Sept. 10 in Chicago. [Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]

As much as Bears rookie Tarik Cohen surprised much of the NFL with a breakout debut Sunday, at least one Bucs player knew exactly what he'd be facing this week as Chicago comes to play Tampa Bay.

"When I saw what he did in his first game, I wasn't shocked at all," said cornerback Ryan Smith, who played at N.C. Central when Cohen played for rival N.C. A&T. "He's a great player, a great athlete. I played him my last two years, and he gave us hell. We beat him, but he was a great player."

Smith and Central won both meetings in close games -- close enough to win by a single yard. In 2014, Cohen rushed for 203 yards and two touchdowns, and was on his way to a tying score in the final five minutes when Central forced a fumble inside the 5-yard line; Smith recovered the loose ball at the 1-yard line to preserve the lead.

Smith had eight tackles in that win, and in 2015, Central won again, but the 5-foot-6 Cohen, nicknamed "The Human Joystick" for his video-game moves, went for 112 yards in a 21-16 loss.

Cohen, a fourth-round draft pick, may have caught the Falcons by surprise, but the Bucs have an advantage in that they were able to watch the Bears' season-opening loss. Defensive coordinator Mike Smith said it was clear that Chicago wanted to get Cohen involved -- he had five rushes for 66 yards, including a 46-yard run to set up a tying touchdown before halftime, and also caught eight passes, including a 19-yard touchdown.

"They obviously wanted to get that rookie the ball as much as possible," Mike Smith said. "By the way, he's a game-wrecker. He's a guy that can really scoot. He's got great speed. He's not very tall. He's going to create mismatch issues for our linebackers, and they want to get him the ball. ... He's a talented guy and they definitely were wanting to have him be an integral part of what they want to do offensively."

Sign up for Bucs Red Zone

A daily report of whats happening inside the locker room and on the field.

 

Sign up for our other newsletters

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bears rookie Tarik Cohen 'hell' to contain, Bucs defensive back says 09/13/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 13, 2017 2:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning's Brayden Point could be perfect fit alongside Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — Brayden Point ended last season as the Lightning's No. 1 center, thrust into the role as a rookie due to injuries.

    Lightning center Brayden Point (21) advances the puck through the neutral zone during Friday's preseason game against the Nashville Predators. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  2. For starters: Rays at Yankees, with Blake Snell starting, Wilson Ramos cashing in

    Blogs

    The Rays open their final road series of the season tonight at Yankee Stadium, which is also where they played their first of the season.

    LHP Blake Snell will be on the mound for the Rays, looking to continue his successful late-season run, in which he is 4-0, 2,57 over his last eight starts.

  3. Cannon Fodder podcast: Considering Gerald McCoy's comments

    Bucs

    Greg Auman talks about Gerald McCoy's comments — both about fan criticism online and Donald Trump — in the latest episode of our Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Gerald McCoy, front, said Monday that he would love to have a conversation with any of the fans who take to social media to criticize him and his Bucs teammates. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. Alex Volkov with a top-six showcase for Lightning

    Blogs

    Alex Volkov entered Lightning camp a bit of an unknown, the second-round pick from Russia in his first NHL camp.

    Alex Volkov (79) works to stop Florida Panthers center Denis Malgin (62) during the second period of Sunday's game in Tampa.
  5. How Jameis Winston's turnovers doomed the Bucs again

    Bucs

    The Bucs' rise or fall is based on the play of quarterback Jameis Winston. His failure to take care of the football was arguably the biggest factor in their 34-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings Sunday.

    Jameis Winston has turned the football over 25 times in 17 road games. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]