Chicago Bears: Cordarrelle Patterson playing running back is crucial

Chicago Bears (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

An interesting tidbit has come out of Chicago Bears training camp — Cordarrelle Patterson is bracing for a true position change.

All offseason, Chicago Bears fans have wondered why Ryan Pace has avoided signing another running back. Now, we have our answer.

According to reports out of Bears training camp, Cordarrelle Patterson has been meeting solely with the running backs — not the wide receivers.

At times throughout the offseason, we have heard from head coach Matt Nagy that he wants to use Patterson more at running back in the coming season. But, there was always the question of how much use he would get there.

Assuming Nagy meant just a few more carries here and there, many fans still assumed the Bears would bring in a veteran running back at some point. David Montgomery is the unquestioned starter, but the Bears do not have a true backup running back.

Tarik Cohen has been able to shine at times, but his inconsistencies out of the back field were on full display last season. Cohen has always been better utilized as a Swiss Army knife type of player — one who can line up all over the place and keep the defense guessing. He’s not a prototypical backup running back.

The 6-foot-2, 238-pound Patterson is a much different mold than Cohen. Now, it appears he will actually get his shot to carry the ball more often than lining up at wideout.

Patterson the running back is crucial to the Chicago Bears’ success.

For those who may not realize it, Patterson has carried the ball 103 times in his career for 785 yards and seven touchdowns. That’s an average of 7.6 yards per carry.

Obviously, Patterson is always a big play waiting to happen on special teams. He’s one of the best kick returners the league has ever seen. But, as a running back, he’s more than accustomed to breaking off big plays.

Over his seven years in the NFL, Patterson has broken off runs of 46, 47, 50 and 67 yards. This is a guy who has averaged 9.2 yards per touch on offense over his career.

It almost seems silly not to use him more on offense, doesn’t it?

With Patterson playing more running back now, it opens things up for a couple of areas. Obviously, Cohen will now get to be used more creatively as well, and that’s a huge positive. Imagine the creativity of Nagy if he was able to put a combination of the speed of Cohen, Patterson, Ted Ginn Jr. or Darnell Mooney on the field at the same time.

Patterson playing running back and earnestly learning the playbook from that position is also a ton of pressure off Montgomery. Should Montgomery need a breather, Patterson is more than capable to take a couple of series from him. Also, God forbid Montgomery gets injured. But, if he does, the Bears should feel confident in Patterson’s ability to handle the majority workload.

In total, the Bears’ offense should look much different with Patterson on the field more. Adding one more dynamic playmaker to the mix on a regular basis will only make things easier on everyone in that group. We haven’t even talked about Allen Robinson or Anthony Miller — nor have we mentioned the tight ends.

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Patterson very well could be the X-factor for the offense in 2020. This may be one decision by Nagy which could change everything for his team.