Bears MLB Brian Urlacher is playing in the team’s home opener against rookie QB Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. He made that very clear during training camp.
He returns to practice today and will likely be limited all week considering the Bears would like to keep him as fresh as possible.
Urlacher is clearly an integral part of the Bears defense, so for him to be out there and healthy will be key.
“I feel good,” he said via Chicagotribune.com. “I’ve been able to do everything that I’ve needed to do on the field. That’s not an issue for me anymore. I have no pain, so that’s good.”
”I’m not going to sit here and say, ‘I want to play four more years,’ because before my knee was hurt I thought I could play four more,” said Urlacher via Chicagosuntimes.com. “My knee just isn’t the same anymore. It’s never going to be the same.”
With all that being said Urlacher has been known to be somewhat of a quick healer, but he even admitted that his left knee will likely never be the same.
All of the Bears’ 2012 opponents are going to take note of that and develop some offensive strategies to attack the middle of the Bears defense.
I’m not saying opponents are going to attack Urlacher on every single play of each game, but if he is moving slow and showing signs of fatigue it could be tough for this Bears defense.
Urlacher has always been compared to Ravens star LB Ray Lewis, who showed signs of age in the 2012 playoffs for Baltimore. That could be a bad sign for the Bears.
The Bears have a backup plan in Nick Roach at middle linebacker, but they obviously would like to see #54 man the middle of the field.
Urlacher’s game depends on his awareness and agility to have success in the Bears defensive scheme. It should be interesting to see how he will be looking throughout Sunday’s game against the Colts.
He might not ever be able to be the same elite player that he once was, but even if he is a little part of his former self that could still help out the Bears this season. But expect opposing teams to take note of what Urlacher said about his knee likely “never being the same” and try to use it to pick apart the Bears defense.
This is going to be a hot topic all NFL season long and rightfully so, Urlacher’s health could easily make or break the Bears 2012 season.