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Urlacher Out For Season

James Tillman

When the Bears traded for Jay Cutler in the off-season, it was thought that he would be the stability that the team had been lacking at the position for quite some time. Although he was unable to lead the Broncos to the playoffs last year, he threw for over 4,500 yards and earned himself a pro-bowl selection in the process. The Bears drew big crowds during all of their training camps as the expectations were as high as they had ever been in Chicago. Many were prematurely picking the Bears as the team that would possibly represent the NFC in the Superbowl this year before the team even played its first down of the season.

Well in the season opener, Cutler looked horrible to say the least and the offense looked out of sorts for a good majority of the game. Only the Packers inability to generate offense made the final score a lot closer than it actually was. Needless to say, the offensive has to improve immensely if the Chicago Bears are going to be the improved team that everyone expected them to be. In addition to that it seems that the defensive unit will now have its work cut out as well as the team learned that the wrist injury Urlacher suffered during the first half will require season-ending surgery. This is a huge loss for a team that was looking to recapture the form from the 2006 season. While Urlacher has been criticized as being overrated in some circles, his impact with the Bears’ defense cannot be overlooked or measured. The last time Urlacher missed an extended amount of time due to an injury was 2004 and the bears went 0-7 with Urlacher on the sidelines.

While it may be too early to panic as the season is only a week old, there definitely has to be a sense of urgency not only going into the next game against the Steelers but for the remainder of the season as well. While there are capable bodies to play Urlacher’ position, not too many players on the team can defend against the run the way he does. The Packers had more success running the ball up the middle once Urlacher was out of the game and I would imagine that other teams will try to do so as well. The defense has been a staple of this team for many years and without once of its premier players in the fold, It’s to hard to see this team going very far. However, we have to take it one game at a time and for now, the Steelers are next up so let’s see how they match up against them.

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