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Chicago Bears 2018 Position Battles: Expect big things from the running backs

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Up next in our 11-part position by position look at the Chicago Bears’ training camp battles are the running backs.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Most of the buzz surrounding the Chicago Bears this offseason had to do with their redone passing attack. Two wide outs and a tight end were added in free agency. The NFL Draft saw saw them trade up for a receiver, and and take another on day three. The new head coach and offensive coaching staff are all going to do wonders for second year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

Everything was done with Trubisky in mind, and rightfully so, but there’s still no better way to alleviate pressure off of a young QB than by having a solid running game. With the synergistic way the running game and passing game can play off each other, I expect the new offense to be more explosive than we’re used to seeing in Chicago.

I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see offensive records broken in the near future.

There won’t be much of a change at the running back position for the Bears this year, but let’s explore the roster...

Roster Locks

Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen make up one of the best tandems in the entire NFL. Their styles are a perfect compliment for each other. The power of Howard and the elusiveness of Cohen are tough for a defense to gear up for. Once they get used to the one cut and thump from the 6’, 224 pound Howard, they then have to ready themselves for the jitterbug style of the 5’6”, 181 pound Cohen.

Cohen will be used all around the new offense, and I’ll bet Howard will get his fair share of receptions in the passing game. While his hands haven’t been the most reliable through two years, I think it’s a matter of concentration and repetition. He may never be Matt Forte, but he can improve enough to keep defenses honest.

A good bet to make it

I like what Benny Cunningham brings to the table. He’s a good receiver out of the backfield and he’s also knowledgeable in blitz pickups. At 218 pounds, he has enough size to fill in on first and second down too. Plus he’s a good special teamer and he can return kicks. I was really close to making him a lock, but it’s possible one of the camp hopefuls has a great performance at Bourbonnais.

On the bubble

Until we see how the Bears plan to use their tight ends, its hard to say if they’ll keep a fullback on the roster or not. Right now they have Michael Burton listed as the only fullback on the roster, but some are speculating that undrafted free agent Ryan Nall could compete for that role as well. Nall played some H-Back at Oregon, so if he can prove to be versatile enough to play both running back and tight end, it could give him an advantage.

The only other running back on the roster is Taquan Mizzell. He was around most of last season for John Fox, but he only played ten total snaps. When you watch his college highlights you see the potential as either a runner or receiver. General manager Ryan Pace must have seen something he liked in Mizzell, so maybe head coach Matt Nagy will find some use for him.