Mid-Season Report: Brian Urlacher - NBC Chicago
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Mid-Season Report: Brian Urlacher



    Mid-Season Report: Brian Urlacher
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    Brian Urlacher

    Any doubt about Brian Urlacher's return to form after a wrist injury sidelined him in 2009 was quashed on September 27th when the Green Bay Packers came to town.

    Urlacher notched nine solo tackles and a pass deflection in that game and put the fear back in the Pack. But his biggest contribution didn't show up on the box score. Urls and running mate Lance Briggs forced a fumble in the final minutes of the game. The linebacking duo descended on receiver James Jones after he slipped a Tim Jennings tackle and absolutely ripped the ball from his hands.

    The play set up Robbie Gould's game-winning field goal and allowed the Bears to move to 3-0 for the season.

    Urlacher, the one-time defensive player of the year, is a force once again.

    One of the main reasons that the Bears defense has excelled this season is that Brian Urlacher has returned to the type of player Bears fans expect. He's back to being the leader on defense that shows by example how good the Bears can be. 

    Much of his renewed impact can be attributed to his regenerated health. The middle linebacker said sitting out a year helped him refine his game mentally and to work on better conditioning.

    But the addition of stud defensive end Julius Peppers helped considerable.  Big bad Peppers now occupies the offensive linemen who used to jump out to wrap up Urlacher. His addition allows Urlacher to roam the field from sideline to sideline, which has traditionally been his strength.

    Urls leads the Bears in tackles with 46; owns 1.5 sacks, an interception,  a forced fumble and a mean attitude. If these sort of numbers continue, it's possible that we'll see Urlacher, who went to his last Pro Bowl in 2006, back in Hawai'i at the end of this season.

    There's no guarantee that will happen, though.  Like  Peppers, Urlacher had a rough game against the Redskins notching just 5 tackles. In a game with nine turnovers, he forced none.  

    But through seven games he's shown enough craftiness, hard hitting ability and leadership that it's safe to say he's back ... with a caveat.  

    The Urlacher who is paying well for the Bears now is not the same man who starred for the Bears earlier this decade. He's older and brings experience that matches up well with his skills.

    He is smarter, and knows better than to let his dating life and custody disputes dominate his story line.  

    With nine tough games left this season, Bears have plenty to worry about. Fortunately, the play of Urlacher is not one of those things.