Sometimes teams get exactly what they pay for in the NFL.
When the Bears signed Cordarrelle Patterson in the off-season, they knew they were acquiring one of pro football’s premier kick returners near the height of his power. A lofty $5 million per season price tag didn’t phase those signing his check(s). If Patterson could provide a needed jolt to a lacking third phase, his compensation would be worth the trouble. Provide that jolt he has.
For his efforts last month, Patterson has been named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for November. Thanks to the 28-year-old veteran averaging 25.5 yards a return (on eight attempts), he’s now the first Bears player to garner this honor since Devin Hester in October 2011. Any time you can share company with the greatest returner of all time, it means you’re doing something right. Other touchstones from that fateful month include Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger,” the No. 1 domestic and international song, and the outset of Occupy Wall Street across the world. To put it lightly, it’s been a while.
What this amounts to is the once floundering Bears having found their spark plug. Patterson has been a boon for both Chicago’s special teams, and a putrid offense that needs every inch of field position. He’s inarguably one of the main reasons Chicago’s special teams unit has been steady in maintaining a top 10 DVOA ranking throughout the 2019 season. With most other kick returners, they’ll be rightfully decried for a poor decision when they take the ball out from deep in the end zone. When Patterson elects to bet on himself, no one bats an eyelash, which speaks to his brilliance.
Where Patterson might want to dial back his confidence and bravado is in asserting he can play other positions. But hey, when you think you’re untouchable, chances are you probably are. It’s the way of the world.
It’s refreshing for the Bears to see a great return on one of their free agent investments. That’s because Patterson has managed to be exactly what they paid for in March. The two-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler leads the NFL in kick return yards, and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. He’ll have the chance to build on one of his better professional seasons down the stretch, as three of the Bears’ final four opponents (the Cowboys, Packers, and Vikings) rank in the bottom 10 of surrendered kick return yardage. Chances are this award isn’t Patterson’s last major recognition of this fall.
Robert wants to remind Tarik Cohen he is not Cordarrelle Patterson. We all have our parts to play.
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