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End of the Year Review: Brian Urlacher

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    NEWSLETTERS

    We're halfway through end-of-the-year evaluations. Click on the names to see files on Johnny Knox and Lovie Smith, and then send in Brian Urlacher for his chat.

    Over the past decade, Brian Urlacher has been the face of the Bears, but he has slipped in the last few years. 2010 saw the return of the old Urlacher, as he earned his first Pro Bowl spot and All-Pro honors since 2006.

    What he does well
    : Tackle. In fact, he led the Bears in tackles and had a friendly competition going with Lance Briggs on who would finish the season with the most. His ability to stop a runner near the line of scrimmage was a big factor in the Bears' running defense being one of the most feared in the league.

    He also has an uncanny ability to break up passes. He was second among pass deflections on the Bears, only behind corner Charles Tillman.

    What he needs to improve on
    : Finding a fountain of youth would help, as Urlacher will turn 33 in May. He had his best season in years, but the season he took off to rehab a wrist injury was a big factor in Urlacher's renaissance. Though he's in excellent condition, he's also getting to the age where linebackers start thinking about spending their days golfing Pebble Beach instead of running wind sprints at Halas Hall.

    Though we love the pass deflections, interceptions would be better. Against New England, Urlacher had three broken-up passes. Two of them should have been interceptions. They came early enough in the game that they could've made a difference in the score. He finished the regular season with just one interception. His interception against the Packers showed that he can still do it.

    With Julius Peppers and Lance Briggs, Urlacher helped the defense play Bear football again. Now, he just needs to be encased in liquid carbonite so that he won't age until the next game is played.