Like all Bears fans, I remain stunned by the way that the 2009 football season kicked off. Putting an ugly football game behind you is one thing, but coming to terms with losing Brian Urlacher is an entirely different beast. Trying to find the bright side of Urlacher’s season ending wrist injury feels a bit like taking pride in telling a good joke at a funeral… but here we are.
If there is a silver lining to losing Urlacher, it will not be found in resurrecting the career of Derrick Brooks (or anyone else off of the NFL scrap heap). The bright side also will not be the resurgence of Hunter Hillenmeyer. If a positive can come out of the Urlacher situation, it will not even be seen on the defensive side of the ball.
Even if Urlacher has lost a step, he remains a top tier linebacker and the leader of the Bears defense. Brian Urlacher can’t be replaced overnight. The 2009 Bears defense will seriously feel this loss. The defense will allow more yards and points with Urlacher on the sidelines, and hopefully, the Bears know it.
The only possible blessing in disguise from this whole ugly mess should be felt on the offensive side of the football. If the Bears embrace the fact that they are going to have to score in bunches to contend, this could nurture the evolution of Jay Cutler as the leader of the Chicago Bears. Mind you, this is a thin silver lining as the Bears would be better off with the services of both Urlacher and Cutler, but what can you do?
One of my biggest fears coming into this season (and I know I’m not alone here) was that the Bears would take Cutler and try to turn him into Kyle Orton. I woke up in cold sweats several times while dreaming of a 4,500 yard, pro-bowl QB ‘managing’ football games and checking down to Matt Forte all season. I shivered at the thought of Ron Turner trying to morph Cutler into a wide receiver screen, dump off, swing pass, hand-off specialist… you know, a Bears quarterback. And what’s more, I was terrified that Lovie would sit back calmly and let it all happen.
With the spot the Bears now find themselves in, it’s time to open things up, let Cutler do his thing (unless that thing includes any more 4-interception games), and become the leader that the Bears need him to be. The Bears defensive unit had its question marks before Urlacher went down, and now they’re going to need all of the help they can get. The Chicago Bears organization has gotten some decent mileage out of their age old recipe for smash-mouth football. If the Bears truly want to contend in ’09, it’s time to add some spice to the mix.
We all expected the Bears offense to look different in 2009; now it might have to score like the Harlem Globetrotters for the Bears to succeed. With Urlacher down, it’s time for the Bears to scrap the offensive facelift idea and go all in for the sex change and become the big-boy offense that we here in Chicago know of only from watching ESPN.
For so many years, we have asked our quarterbacks just to not lose football games in Chicago. It appears that the time to ask our new QB to put this team on his shoulders is already upon us, and that could make for one wild ride.