Brian Urlacher on the development of Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and the direction his former team is headed under coach Matt Nagy.
At this time last year, Brian Urlacher was sweating whether he would be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame or if he’d have to wait another year. The stress got to the former Chicago Bears middle linebacker and his Super Bowl experience wasn’t as much fun as it could have been.
Fast forward one year later, Urlacher was enshrined as a first-ballot Hall of Famer and he’s able to enjoy his time in Atlanta for Super Bowl 53 without the added stress hanging over his head.
“This year is much more enjoyable,” Urlacher told FanSided at the Super Bowl. “No stress. We’re just having a good time, enjoying ourselves and getting to do some cool stuff.”
Certainly, adding to his enjoyment would be if the Bears made it to the Super Bowl, but despite their exit in the first round to the Eagles, Urlacher is encouraged with the direction of the franchise.
“I believe they’re going in the right direction,” Urlacher said. “We outdid everything we thought we would do. They’re a young team, going in the right direction. Great head coach. Great players on both sides of the ball. You gotta be excited about where we’re going.”
Urlacher’s Bears teams were predicated on the defense with No. 54 operating in the middle of the Cover-2 scheme. His ability to run sideline-to-sideline, cover the deep middle of the field and occasionally blitz, made him one of the best to ever do it. When he watches the Bears defense, he’s proud how they’ve managed to play dominant defense in an era that favors the offense.
“I’m very proud,” Urlacher said when asked about the Bears play on defense. “Our defense plays defense like it should be played. In an era, where the game is so offensive oriented, all the rules are meant to favor them, and our defense gave up 17 points per game. It’s unreal. To do that in this day and age when everyone wants to see points, to do what they did is pretty awesome.”
While Urlacher’s teams were often hamstrung by poor and inconsistent quarterback play, he likes what he’s seen so far from Mitchell Trubisky. The first year in Matt Nagy’s system brought out a lot of the talent that made him the No. 2 pick in the draft two years ago but wasn’t on display as a rookie under John Fox’s watch.
The jury may still be out on Trubisky’s ceiling, but Urlacher has no doubt he’s the answer to the question that has plagued the franchise for a half century.
“I think so,” Urlacher said when asked if Mitchell Trubisky is the right guy. “I was impressed with what he did. Beyond what he does with his legs, the guy has a good arm, he makes good decisions with the football. He values the football which I appreciate as a defensive player.”
From Rex Grossman to Jay Cutler, Urlacher didn’t play with many great quarterbacks, but he’s quick to say he’d love to play with Mitch, and not just because of his physical abilities, but because of the intangibles and leadership qualities he’s displayed.
“I would have loved to play with Mitch. You know what I love about Mitch? When they win, he gives all the credit to the receivers, the defense, offensive line and running backs. When they lose, what’s he do? “I got to play better, I need to do this. I need to do that.” As a leader of a team, that’s what you’re supposed to do. That’s what coach Nagy does when they lose. When you lose you take the blame, and when you win, you credit the players. That’s the way it should be.”