Sunday Will Be Urlacher's Sternest Test of 2012 (Thus Far)

Sunday Will Be Urlacher's Sternest Test of 2012 (Thus Far)

Brian Urlacher is a week from the bye. A week from giving his knee a much needed sabbatical from the rigors of an NFL campaign. Fitting that he's now preparing for his sternest test of 2012.

What, you say? How can the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, the league's worst offense through four games, present a greater test for Urlacher than the high-flying Green Bay Packers and supremely-talented Dallas Cowboys? Three reasons:

  1. After a messy game plan from Jags head coach Mike Mularkey Sunday (get used to those, Jacksonville), only handing the ball to Maurice Jones-Drew 13 times, Mularkey has pledged to rectify the issue. The Bears have not faced an opponent truly committed to the run for four quarters yet but they should expect one in northern Florida Sunday. That means Urlacher will have to shed blockers and hit the holes or MJD will end up in one-one-ones with Chris Conte.
  2. Blaine Gabbert is being brought along slowly and that has translated to an abundance of screens. Sunday Gabbert completed 9 of his 23 passes to MJD and fullback Greg Jones. The week previous Gabbert completed 4 of his 10 passes to the two backs. Urlacher's most definitive strength has been his ability to run sideline-to-sideline faster than any other linebacker in the game. The Jags' screen game will have him running.
  3. Gabbert also has a solid tight end safety valve in Marcedes Lewis. After watching Jason Witten basically own the middle of the field Monday night, I'd imagine Mularkey will release Lewis behind the linebackers and give Gabbert quick, easy throws.

Again, this is not a good offense. They are statistically the worst in the sport. But they do have strengths and those strengths - Jones-Drew, screen game, tight end - each will target the middle linebacker in Lovie Smith's cover-2 system. And until his number is retired at Soldier Field, that means Brian Urlacher.

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  • First to say, he should skip this test and rest his knee. If we can't beat Jacksonville without him, we're screwed anyway.

  • Agreed. That said, no way Lovie does that. The game he injured himself in was utterly meaningless. Yet, he played. Nope. Lovie's all Boy Scout, all
    the time. Looking back again, Urlacher and Adrian Peterson both suffered significant, potentially career ending injuries in the same game that meant absolutely nothing to either team. Hall of Famers both of them and both playing well at the time. How can NFL head coaches be so brilliant and so stupid simultaneously?

  • I foresee that Toeina will dress up on Sunday in order to beef up against the run. Okoye out instead. But I agree with your points on Urlacher.

  • In reply to clnr:

    I was thinking the same. It's gonna be the Pacific Islander Wall of Granite which MJD will have to knock his helmet against.

    Izzy and Pepp are also GREAT against the run, but honestly, I'd like to give Pepp some rest if he's a little banged up. I want to see if Woot-Woot can handle the run, so this would be a good test for him b4 the Texans and 9ers.

  • The recipe is simple and well established . Get up EARLY and remind the the home folks that "Huh? what?, O yeah, we stink".

    Should be plenty of tickets available for traveling bear fans.

    The Jags will need help from the Bears to stay in this but I fear a "Monday Nght Hangover."

    As previously stated, I think it STINKS OUT LOUD that the Bears have to go on the road on a Monday and then turn right around and go BACK on the road in a short week.

    Make no mistake.

    To quote Harry Caray:

    "There's DANGER here, Cherie!"

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    I'm sure good tickets can be had at a decent price. I got my tickets on the 40 yard line, second tier, for I believe it was $160 a ticket face value from Ticketmaster.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Jay and company know there is no let up this season. Look for Brandon Marshall and Jay to hook up early and often on short routes and the running game to be administered consistently to keep them honest.

    Tice is no genius but he is smart enough to know that if he can re-create the balance the Bears offense showed in the Dallas game that it will be a great win heading into the bye.

    That is why I will reiterate that I was elated that we experienced a meltdown in week 2 instead of 6. Changes were made, improvement was seen and results delivered. Sunday will be no different.

    No fear of a hangover here.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Surely it's nt possible to lose to JAX. Cutty could throw four picks and you'd still expect to win. They got MJD and that's it. Shut him down (done deal) and it's game over in the first quarter.

    Also Houston and Minny to roll over their opponents.

  • I don't normally root for opposing players to get injured, but in MJDs case I can make an exception. I hope Peppers tears every ligament in that guy's knee so everyone can question how tough he is as he sits on the sideline. I forgot how much that shit pissed off.

  • In reply to Shady:

    It was baseless and classless for MJD to Twitter about Cutler acting the pussy during the GB NFC Championship Game. When, it turns out, he tore a muscle. And that Cutler wanted to go back out there.

    Twitter has been this fascinating invention, that let's us into the minds of celebrities. And it's been pretty ugly how shallow, thoughtless and stupid alot of them are.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Couldn't agree more.

  • In reply to Shady:

    AND ALL THE WHILE, guess WHO was on the sidlines for the last 2 games of that season for the Jags, who were then fighting for a playoff spot?

    Yep, Mr. Maurice. "I'M injured but JAY just doesn't want to play anymore" Jones-Drew.

    What an IGNORANT tweet.

  • I agree with Jeff about what the Jags INTEND to do. After watching the Bears D utterly humiliate a very efficient (highest passer rating year after year) and veteran QB with a lot of weapons, Mularky must be shitting his pants thinking "Imagine what they're gonna do to our anemic O!?"

    And he's right. Our D, I think, is going to play man a lot more, and blitz the shit out of Gabbert and MJD. Jennings will shadow their "best" WR, either Blackmon who has about 8 passes all year, or Laurent Robinson, the ultimate underachiever.

    I expect a lot of dump offs to Mercedes and MJDs, but that's about it. As long as Cutler doesn't throw it to them, this game should be over by the early 3rd.

    I hope Cutler framed those twitter comments by MJD about how he quit in the NFC Championship Game.

  • Agree 110%.

  • In reply to Shady:

    Damn, man, you went off in FF! Fucken Brady and White scored like 70 points by themselves!

  • It's an encouraging 4-0 start. So I got that going for me. Which is nice.

  • In reply to Shady:

    and you are a fucking super ninja at MW3. Awwwwesooooome!

  • What in the hell ever happened to Mike Sims-Walker.

    Wasn't he supposed to be good?

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    Gabbert happened/

  • Somebody give Lack a tv camera or digital camera to hold while he's out there.

    If he's just going to stand there or jog slowly around, he could at least capture some good footage that the wire-harness camera misses. Do it for NFL films.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Jesus, gp. He's not THAT bad. Get off him already.

  • +a lot, Doc

  • In reply to SC Dave:

    Unfortunately, he really is that bad.

    I really wish Our Boy Roy hadn't ceased and desisted the breakdown. I would love an All-22 from him. He would have shown how bad it was - in slow mo - from several angles.

    He's so bad out there guys, coaches are altering schemes to cover his zone, because he can't run. That's how bad it is. Watch the replays.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Lack could do that in the second half.. Am I the only one that noticed 54 all over the place during the first quarter? He looked great, for a little while.

  • I think the Jacksonville game could easily be a trap game. They're trash as a football team, why won't we be able to strut in and beat them?

    Precisely due to that attitude. I hope we take practice seriously this week.

    That being said, if our D-line continues to dominate like they have, we should be fine. Poor running lanes and no time to pass should make it really hard for Jacksonville to move the football.

    I foresee a special teams touchdown, as the Jags will be punting a lot.

  • In reply to Scharfinator:

    This team has too much of a veteran win-now-or-die presence. Trap games shmap games. Cutty and the O are also tired of being disrespected every week. They're playing with a chip on their shoulder all season. Bears against the World.

    Bears by 30.

  • Are you going to put 15 confidence points on that?

  • In reply to Scharfinator:

    I thought the same.

    Trap Game Recipe:

    Exciting Win
    National TV
    Short Week
    Away Game
    Inferior Opponent
    Bye Next Week

    But our guys realize that every win counts. We're one game up on the Pack, and they own the tie-breaker, so I think that in itself is enough motivation.

  • In reply to Scharfinator:

    I typically hate the 670 pundits... Although I used to be able to stand Jason Goff (until I followed him for a week or so on Twitter), who made an interesting comment yesterday. To paraphrase -

    "There are no trap games in the NFL. Trap games are for kids in college who think they can beat the crap out of some mid major early in the season."

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    Vikes over 9ers begs to differ.

  • +1

  • Or simply - the Vikings aren't as bad as everyone thinks, the 49ers aren't as good as everyone thinks...

    Or, more realistically - both teams are comprised of professional football players who try their hardest week in-week out... and football is a fickle mistress of a sport where, if you prescribe to the "any given Sunday" ideology, anything can happen and anyone can beat anyone.

    I prefer to think my professional team and the opponent are filled with men who give a shit and focus on the task at hand...

    I don't see how "trap game" and "any given Sunday" perspectives on the NFL play nice together in the sandbox, as they are, in essence, contradictory. Any team can beat any other team "any given Sunday" not because the better team doesn't give a shit, but because it's football and that's what makes it interesting.

    Either way, both phrases are gross oversimplifications and fuck 'em both. Thanks Jason Goff for making me defend a goofy statement I was too open-minded to immediately blow off.

    Bears win. By how much? I don't give a shit.

    Where's the dick jokes?

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    Another perspective is that trap games and any given Sunday are just different sides of the same coin. A team can win any given Sunday through better prep, a better attitude during practice, or just better staff. If a trap game occurred on a random Sunday, it could easily be called an "any given Sunday" kind of performance by the underdog.

    The fact that an increase in a player's performance during a contract year points to the fact that, yes, players do have different work ethics at different times. They, in fact, do *not* try their hardest day in and day out, every day. Not every NFL player is a consummate professional who does their best every day. The best players do, but not all.

    Think about Tommie Harris post 2006. Sure, he had an injury, but plenty of players recover from those. He was a total bum. He did not work as hard as he could of, given the talent he displayed prior.

  • In reply to Scharfinator:

    Thanks for your insight... and thanks for not being a Trac hand puppet. Welcome!

    But, uh, where's the requested dick joke?

    And... fuck a "trap game" - we ain't even got that shit no mo'.

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    I tried to figure out a dick joke with MJD being called Pocket Hercules, but every time I did it sounded like I was complimenting him. >_<

  • In reply to Who is Willie Gault:

    This isn't a dick joke per say, but related. It's the first few verses of a long song my Grandpa sang to me as a kid playing his 4 string guitar. It's called a Little Ball of Yarn.

    It t'was in th month of May
    When th lambs would skip and play
    And th blackbirds were singing like a charm
    And I met a pretty miss
    And I said, unto her like this
    Let me wind up your little ball of yarn

    Why, she said to me, kind sir
    Your a stranger I can see
    I"m afraid sir, that you will do me harm
    And I put my arms around her waist
    While I gently laid her down
    While th blackbirds were singing like a charm

    And, I threw up her underclothes
    And pulled out my rubber hose
    While th blackbirds were singing like a charm

    And, it was shortly after this
    When I had to take a piss
    Came a pain that would cause me great alarm
    And it was to my decepts
    When I had a dose of clap
    While th blackbirds were singing like a charm

    It was nine months after that, in a poolroom where I sat
    That I felt a heavy hand upon my arm;
    And a gentleman in blue said, "Young man, we're after you
    You're the father of an eight-pound ball of yarn."

  • In reply to TheFifth:

    I'm pretty sure I would have liked your Grandpa, Cor!

  • In reply to TheFifth:

    Ditto.

  • Or Cards over Patriots in Foxboro, for that matter.

  • Bagel dogs.

  • In reply to Crown:

    Phew.

    Thanks.

  • He HAD to have something to say...
    -
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    ...that hypocrite, Maurice Jones-Drew.
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    But what he tweeted about Jay that day...
    -
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    ... was just a steamy pile of poo !
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    Burma Shave

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