Tuesday Roundup: Urlacher, offensive line, and June
December 1st, 2009 - 6:59 pm
Over the weekend, Yahoo! Sports writer Michael Silver spent some time with Brian Urlacher and even watched the Vikings game with him. Some of what Urlacher said in the informal interview has been blown up in the Chicago media the past few days due to its potentially divisive nature.
I don’t have a particular problem with what Urlacher said because most of it is true. What I do disagree with is that Urlacher claims the Bears have changed their identity from a run-first team ever since Jay Cutler came to town. The fact that the Bears are throwing more than running has more to do with them playing from behind nearly every game than it does with Cutler’s presence in the offense. It also has something to do with the offensive line’s inability to run block — or pass block, for that matter.
Many people are wondering what exactly Urlacher was thinking when he spilled his guts to a member of the media, regardless of how many truths he shared. The answer is that he probably wasn’t thinking at all. I’m sure he thought nothing of it to speak openly about his team considering it wasn’t really an interview, it was more a couple of guys spending some time together and talking football. Urlacher has to be smarter than that and realize that unless he specifies otherwise, anything he says can be used against him in the court of public opinion.
I’m interested in seeing if anything evolves from this. Even at 31, he still has value as a player and would probably thrive as an outside linebacker on a better team. I sincerely doubt the Bears would trade Urlacher unless the apparent rift between he and Cutler worsens. The Bears, who have no first or second round draft pick next year, would be wise to at least consider shipping the middle linebacker somewhere because they have a lot of rebuilding to do and Urlacher will not be on this team when and if they win a Super Bowl in the forseeable future, unless dramatic moves are made.
Williams to left tackle?: Orlando Pace suffered a groin injury and left the Minnesota Vikings game on Sunday. His availability for this weekend’s game against his former team, the Rams, is in question. Lovie Smith wouldn’t rule out the possibility of moving Chris Williams from the right side of the line to left tackle, where he was supposed to play since being selected in the first round of last year’s draft.
Switching offensive linemen isn’t an easy transition, particularly in one week’s time. As I like to say, this isn’t a video game where such a move is seamless. But at this point in a season where playoffs are out of the question, the Bears might as well see if Williams has a future at left tackle because we all know Pace does not factor into the Bears’ long-term plans.
If Williams is indeed moved to left tackle, another switch I’d like to see, but probably won’t happen because he has lined up at guard all season, is moving Frank Omiyale to right tackle where he’s probably best suited. The Bears could — and probably would — play Kevin Shaffer there, but I don’t think he’s in their long-term plans, either.
Linebacker June added to the mix: The Bears on Tuesday signed a one-year contract with linebacker Cato June. June, as many Bears fans will remember, began his career with the Indianapolis Colts and played on the 2006 team that defeated the Bears in Super Bowl XLI.
In that season, June led the Colts with 142 tackles, recorded 1 sack and 2 forced fumbles. June then signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the following off-season and spent the past two seasons with them. He was with the Texans this off-season before reaching an injury settlement.