By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor News Bureau
I heard it in the first half of “Monday Night Football.”
“He’s a modern-day Darren Sproles,” Jon Gruden said.
The “MNF” analyst was comparing Chicago Bears running Tarik Cohen to Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles.
I don’t have a problem with that, though Cohen is a rookie and Sproles is a veteran likely out for the season after he tore his ACL and broke his arm in Week 3.
Both are short and fast hybrid backs who also return kicks and catch passes.
I have a problem with Gruden’s use of “modern-day.” The adjective makes me think Sproles was a pro football pioneer, a Chicago Staley back in the day, the day being 1921.
It would have been better for Gruden to call Cohen “a future Darren Sproles” or “the next Darren Sproles.”
Personal foul, Coach. Roughing the language.
That’s not my only problem with Gruden talking about Cohen.
Gruden’s praise, based on Cohen’s impressive NFL debut against the Atlanta Falcons in the Bears’ opener Sept. 10, probably created bad mojo.
Cohen was unspectacular in the “MNF” game against the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 9, just as he was in the CBS/NFL Network Thursday night game against the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 28.
In the first half of that game, rookie analyst and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo raved about the fourth-round pick from North Carolina A&T.
I suppose Romo saw Cohen as a player to watch, but there was nothing to see. It was a major letdown after a big buildup.
The same goes for the “MNF” game. Once Cohen became a non-factor against the Vikings, Gruden criticized him for his “dancing” style of running as he tried to break free at the line of scrimmage, only to gain a yard of two.
Fair call, Coach.
Maybe that will start a broadcast trend: Back away from saying good things about Cohen until he proves he’s the next Darren Sproles.