Bears' Urlacher goes from explosion to corrosion
Bears' Urlacher goes from explosion to corrosion
Inspired start to season is losing oomph, as numbers show
When the Rejuvenation of Brian Urlacher story was at its peak three weeks ago, I asked Urlacher if, at 33, he was more susceptible to the wear and tear of an NFL season. And, if so, if there’s anything he does about it.
Nothing special, he said
Same thing I always do during the season. I do my stretching exercises, lift twice a week, do what the trainers tell me to do and that’s it. I don’t do anything extra. My first couple of years, I didn’t do anything. I lifted — that was about it. I think as you get older, you’ve got to start doing more stuff to keep your body loose and be ready to go.’’
Maybe he should be doing something extra, because although he came into this season well-rested after playing one half of regular-season football over a 19-month period, the wear and tear is starting to show. It gets lost in the hubbub over Jay Cutler’s concussion, the misadventures of the Bears’ offensive line and Lance Briggs’ injury, but Urlacher’s groin pull — and apparent sprained right thumb — could jump to the top of the list. When you’re 33, there’s no such thing as a minor injury in the NFL.
Urlacher played at an elite level through the first three games of the season — 33 tackles, six tackles for loss, one sack, one forced fumble.
But while he still has been productive, in the last three games his impact gradually has diminished — 18 tackles, one tackle for loss, a half-sack, a fumble recovery, an interception and three pass breakups.
It’s not as if anyone’s pining for Rod Wilson, but if you don’t notice the downward trend, you’re not paying attention. Against the Seattle Seahawks last week, Urlacher was shut out of impact plays (sacks, tackles for loss, interceptions, pass breakups, forced fumbles, fumble recoveries) for the first time this season.
And I’m only half-joking in pointing out this oddity: Against the New York Giants on Oct. 3 at the Meadowlands, Urlacher was credited with five tackles from the press box — and the coaches’ film review couldn’t find even one more tackle. He picked up eight on film review in the first three weeks of the season.
The Bears — despite all their foibles — became a legitimate contender in the NFC because of a resurgence of star talent. Urlacher was playing at a Pro Bowl level; he seemed to add a new, more physical dimension to Briggs’ already outstanding game. And Julius Peppers was creating havoc even without being on pace for the all-important double-digit sack total.
With Urlacher not 100 percent and Briggs inactive, you could see and feel the difference. Peppers was as silent as he has been all season. And the residual production dried up quickly — Israel Idonije, who had three sacks against Carolina, was shut out against Seattle. Seahawks running back Justin Forsett was driving through multiple Bears defenders into the end zone. In fact, the Seahawks — the 28th-ranked offense in the NFL — kind of pushed the Bears around.
Maybe Urlacher, Briggs, Peppers and the Bears will snap back against the Washington Redskins today. But the history of the Bears — and perhaps the NFL — is that a little thing has as much of a chance of turning into a big thing as going away. The Bears would be wise to keep an eye on Urlacher. His health is their health.
Return of Rex
Rex Grossman paid a stiff price for being injured, inconsistent and unproductive around fits of excellence as a Bears quarterback from 2003 to 2008. He missed valuable time on injured reserve, hampering his development. He was booed. He was benched. And he was cut.
Isn’t that enough? It would be pretty crass of Bears fans to boo Grossman when he returns to Soldier Field today with the Redskins as a backup to Donovan McNabb. Are Bears fans that scarred by the Lovie Smith era that they can’t let it go?
It would be more appropriate if Bears fans enthusiastically cheered Grossman — a token ‘‘Thanks for giving your all for better or worse. Sorry it didn’t work out’’ from the home fans.
There comes a time, even in this era of over-the-top sports fanaticism, where you have to appreciate the effort. This is one of them.
Yeah...i stopped reading at "sprained right thumb." As if all the exercises and stretching in the world would be able to prevent a sprained thumb.
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And the writer couldn't make the connection to while his tackles down, his pass defended, and Interceptions were up- which is because urlacher was dropping more into coverage esp with briggs out and team playing more tampa-2..So when in cocerage your tackles go down.. but pass defended and int go up- means still playing at an elite level just a different aspect of the linebacker play( 3 pass defended to zero and 1 int to zero).. hayes seem to be trying to be the new moronatti and failing miserably at it
Originally Posted by Jimmors
I love these sports writers who have never actually played the game, or if they have stopped after pee wee football. This guy comes in and busts his ass at one of the most historic positions in Chicago Bears history and is dinged up a little bit and still has made plays. If they are dropping Lach in coverage, his tackles will most likely be down you ass! Give me a break. Still feel he is playing at a high level and hoping to see him get a pick for 6 at somepoint. Keep busting your ass BLach and run havoc on the Skins today!
Originally Posted by dabears54
i dont understand why urlacher is always the brunt of criticism. Other then not being able to shed a block which many athletic lbs have trouble with he has been just about one of the best lbs of my time at least.