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Urlacher Injury Forces Bears to Step Up, Look Forward

Mike Burzawa

Die hard Bears fan and lead blogger at Bear Goggles On

It was difficult dragging myself out of bed Monday morning.  Mondays are rough to begin with,
url injury.jpg

Brian Urlacher is out for the season.

but a Monday after a loss is even more challenging.  A Monday after a loss to the hated Packers is almost grounds for a sick day. 

Not me, I'm a team player.  I brought myself in and tried to paste a phony smile on my face.  Then the news broke on my e-mail: Urlacher out for the season.  GASP!  Say it ain't so, Joe. 

So what are the Bears supposed to do?  Derrick BrooksZach Thomas?  Too old, too slow.  Call off the season?  Um, not an option. 

No one is going to feel sorry for the Bears.  Not the Packers or their other division rivals; certainly not Week 2 opponents the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The defending champs roll into town short their All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu.  No, it's not for the season, but they come in shorthanded.  Yet you don't hear Steeler fans crying and saying the season is over.  That's not what championship teams do.

Let's face it, Urlacher's best days are behind him.  Mike Brown, though rarely around at the end of seasons, is gone.  Tommie Harris can give you a few big plays a game, but he's not 100% and might never be again.  Lance Briggs is a great player, but he cannot do it alone. 

Fear not, there is another...  
Jay Cutler.  No, Jay cannot play middle linebacker.  Hell, after Sunday night's fiasco, there are questions about whether or not he can play quarterback. 

On April 2, 2009 the Bears hitched their wagons to Jay Cutler and pointed the franchise in another direction.  For better or for worse, this is the new face of your franchise:

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Jay Cutler is the new face of the franchise

The Bears must become an offensive football team and it begins and ends with #6.  He wants one of those Eli Manning or Ben Roethlisberger $90+ million of deals, it's time to go out and earn the money.  Those guts have Super Bowl rings.  They throw TD passes when it matter most, not tantrums. 

Jay has got to grow up and be a leader.  He needs to make the team better; not throw interceptions with 71 seconds left and your team needing a decisive score.

That is why the Jerry Angelo and the Bears brought Cutler here - to lead this team.  They didn't bring him here to ride the defense's coattails to the Super Bowl like Grossman did.

If the Bears are going to be make it a season in 2009 they're going to have to outscore people and after that woeful performance, they're going to have to figure it out quickly.  The wide receivers need to get on the same page with Cutler.

Ron Turner needs to up his game. He did a horrible job on Sunday.  Where was Matt Forte in the first half while Cutler was imploding?  Running plays not working?  Try again.  Try harder.  And when the Bears finally got the running game going, where were some play action passes?  Those Robbie Gould field goals are nice, but we need TOUCHDOWNS.  We can't settle for field goals any more.  We don't have that luxury.    

I'm not giving Lovie Smith and the defense a pass.  They need to find a scheme that will put the players they have left in a position to succeed.  Hunter Hillenmeyer is a nice player, but he can't cover the deep middle like Urlacher does.  No one out on the street can, so forget that idea. 

Move Lance Briggs to the middle?  Sounds interesting, but why move your Pro Bowl linebacker to another position?  Now you've got two people in new spots.  That's not the way to solve the problem. 

Jerry Angelo has been collecting linebacker over the past few offseasons and it's a position of depth.  That depth will be tested, but it's time for the Jamar Williams' and Nick Roaches of the world to step up.

Take heart, Bears fans.  As horribly as Cutler and the offense played, they had the lead with under two minutes to go.  The Bears defense, which played the entire second half without Urlacher, gave up 11 points in that span.  This to a team that lit it up all preseason and was considered one of the league's top offenses heading into the season.   

It was going to happen sooner or later.  Maybe not after this season, maybe not after next season, but the Bears were going to have to come to grips of life without Brian Urlacher.  This is no time to cry over spilled linebackers.  The Bears must look forward to life without Brian Urlacher. 

Check out my blog on the Fansided Sports Network, Bear Goggles On.     




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EthanI said:

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Do you think Chicago Bears could still make it without Brian Urlacher? Anyway, Bears players feel bad for Brian Urlacher. A Brian Urlacher injury means that the whole city of Chicago is likely in a state of mourning. A typical Chicago Bears team lives and dies by its defense, and doubly so by it's linebackers, so when there's a Brian Urlacher injury… it means bad news. The prolific and stalwart middle linebacker picked up a fractured wrist, that required immediate surgery, and he is most likely to be out for the entire season. Urlacher has been a staple of the Chicago Bears since he was drafted in 2000, arguably one of the best linebackers in the NFL.

Mike Burzawa said:


Ethan - Great comment. Simply put - YES - the Bears can make it without Urlacher. No doubt, they will miss him and especially his leadership on the field. The point is, this was going to happen sooner or later and everyone needs to step up. The Bears brought Cutler in here to be the franchise quarterback. It's time to be the man and lead this team.

IrishSweetness said:


Eli Manning is an average QB. Fat Ben Worthlessberger is a wobbly inaccurate Qb who lobs bricks or ropes, and that's it. He's getting as jelly-like as jamarcus Russell and he's about as mobile. He looks like a big fat pump-faking weeble in the pocket. Jay has more ability and power than the other two put together. let him play Detroit before you drive the nail into his coffin, let him play with time to throw before you bury a pro bowl QB like that.

Mike Burzawa said:


Irish - I'm not burying Jay, I'm calling on him to step up. The Bears brought him here to be the franchise, so it's time to lead this team. The reason I bring up Big Ben and Eli is that they're 2 QB's who got big $ deals who have led their teams to Championships.

I agree that the line has to play better and give Jay some time. Unfortunately for Jay and the Bears, they only get the Lions twice this season and have the Steelers and Seahawks on the schedule before they get a crack at the hapless Lions. Unless you're happy with another mediocre team, raise your expectations for Jay and the rest of the squad.

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