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. Whatever USF has to say about Temple waits till Thursday

    College

    "The holes were wide open. Anyone could have run through them."

    South Florida Bulls cornerback Mazzi Wilkins (23) intercepts a pass during the second half of the home opener for the South Florida Bulls against the Stony Brook Seawolves at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Five reasons why Kentucky can beat Florida for the first time since 1986

    College

    By Matt Baker

    GAINESVILLE — Florida's 30-game winning streak over Kentucky is one of the most impressive feats in the country.

    Florida Gators offensive lineman Martez Ivey (73) celebrates Florida Gators running back Mark Thompson's  (24) touch down in the first quarter, putting Florida on the board 6-0 during the game between the University of Florida and the University of Kentucky in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Gainesville, Fla. Florida defeated Kentucky 45-7. ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times

  3. Once targeted by the Bucs, Dalvin Cook thrills for the Vikings

    Bucs

    How good would the Bucs be with running back Dalvin Cook?

    Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) slips a tackle by Steelers strong safety Sean Davis (28) to score a touchdown Sunday in Pittsburgh. [AP photo]
  4. Boxer Jake LaMotta, immortalized in 'Raging Bull,' dies at 95

    Obituaries

    MIAMI — Jake LaMotta, the former middleweight champion whose life in and out of the ring was depicted in the film Raging Bull, for which Robert DeNiro won an Academy Award, has died, his fiancee said Wednesday. He was 95.

    Jake LaMotta, retired professional boxer, shakes hands with Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) on the field before the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on Sept. 15, 2015. LaMotta was on hand to sign autographs in the Ted Williams Museum.
  5. J.R. Sweezy shows what Bucs were missing

    Bucs

    By Greg Auman

    TAMPA —- Sunday's season-opening win against the Bears saw the debut of 13 Bucs, a mix of rookies and free-agent veterans.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive guard J.R. Sweezy (73), seen at center, runs through drills during training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Monday, July 31, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times