Urlacher Overated???

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by jcolec02, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. jcolec02

    jcolec02 Mentor

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    Urlacher Aiming to Certify Rightful Place in Bears' History
    By Vito Forlenza, Comcast.net Sports Editor
    January 31, 2007

    When Peyton Manning walks to the line of scrimmage during Indianapolis' first offensive series of Sunday's Super Bowl, he'll rouse through his signature series of gestures, signals and audibles. Undoubtedly, he'll point to the middle of Chicago's stellar linebacking corps and demand that his linemen account for No. 54.

    At some point during the progression, Manning's eyes will lock onto those of Brain Urlacher. The leader of the Colts' prolific offense staring down the chief of the Bears' dominant defense. One superstar aiming to silence his critics eyeballing another who's looking to accomplish the same.

    Manning's plight has been building as the postseason disappointments piled up over the years. But one of the interesting subplots of a Super Bowl filled with intriguing storylines is that he isn't the only one faced with such a task.

    Urlacher, like the field general he's trying to stop, is hoping this Super Bowl can validate the attention, accolades, and affluence he's attracted throughout his brilliant career.

    It may be a curious position for a linebacker. That job is normally reserved for the offensive skill guys. Except in Chicago, where defenses sell the tickets and win the championships. And the middle linebacker is the main draw.

    The tradition was modernized by Dick Butkus, the homegrown talent whose overly aggressive style helped revive the "Monsters of the Midway" moniker that became synonymous with the Bears' championship teams of the 1940s.

    It was popularized by Mike Singletary, the soft-spoken professional who served as the backbone of Buddy Ryan's suffocating "46" defense that delivered Chicago's first Super Bowl win in '85.

    Ever since the Bears drafted Urlacher with the ninth overall pick in the 2000 draft, he was expected to continue the legacy of those Hall of Famers. Seven years later, the comparisons still unsettle him.

    "They played for 10, 12 years, so I have got a ways to go," he said. "I know winning a world championship would definitely help put myself in that category. But it's an honor to be thought of with those two.

    "They are in the Hall of Fame. This is my seventh year. I have got a long ways to go."

    He also has a long way to go in the minds of many within the NFL.

    Despite winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and becoming a staple of the Pro Bowl, insiders scoffed at the notion that Urlacher measured up to the menacing Butkus or the charismatic Singletary. An '04 Sporting News poll of scouts and analysts nominated Urlacher as the NFL's most overrated player.

    The next year, he was named the Defensive Player of the Year.

    Surely, he had proven that he wasn't just some stopgap in the signature position of one of the NFL's most recognizable franchises. But last year, a Sports Illustrated poll of current players tabbed Urlacher the league's second-most overrated player behind Terrell Owens.

    From the elite company of Butkus and Singletary to an ill association with T.O., clearly those closest to the game have mixed feelings over Urlacher and his abilities. While some athletes would pretend to brush it off, Urlacher admits that the barbs irk him.

    But he doesn't believe that the constant criticism or even the mounting honors should define him.

    "To tell you the truth, all of this stuff can go away," Urlacher said. "The Defensive Player of the Year, overrated, underrated. All that junk can go out the window. I want to win a championship. That's why we're here, that's why we play.

    "I don't know where (the criticism) came from. But at the same time, my teammates stood up for me, my coaches stood up for me, and the organization stood behind me. The people who know me know what kind of football player I am."

    The recent shots at Urlacher have centered around one statistical category--sacks. He didn't have any this season. He hasn't registered a sack since getting two in a mid-October win over Minnesota last season. The Bears counter that their defensive scheme doesn't put that responsibility on linebackers.

    The claim isn't a hallow defense of Urlacher.

    Chicago's starting linebackers--Lance Briggs, Urlacher, and Hunter Hillenmeyer--combined for just one sack this season. Briggs dropped Brett Favre in the first quarter of a Week 1 win over Green Bay. Nearly all of the Bears' sacks have come from defensive linemen, who notched 36 of the team's 40 sacks this season.

    In areas for which the Bears did depend on Urlacher, he flourished.

    He led the defense with 142 total tackles this season, the second-best output of his career, was second to Briggs with 93 solo tackles, and tied a career-high with three interceptions. The production propelled Bears coach Lovie Smith to reason that Urlacher was worthy of top defender honors for a second straight season.

    "Brian was (voted the) Defensive Player of the Year last year. I think he has played better this year," Smith said. "Everything we have asked him to do, he has done it well. He's gone beyond the call of duty. I can talk about Urlacher for a long time. I think he is the best player in football. I'd make that statement."

    Urlacher can help back it up with another strong performance against one of the game's elite offenses. In the NFC championship game against New Orleans, he and the Bears limited the conference's top-rated attack to just 14 points.

    Now, he lines up against the AFC's best offense in the sport's brightest spotlight, knowing that he must prolong Manning's misery to wash away his own. The Bears' first Super Bowl win in 21 years would elevate his name into the breed of the franchise's all-time greats.

    With one win, all the doubts would be erased, all the questions answered. Universal acclaim would follow. He'd be deemed worthy of stepping into legendary footsteps.

    Even though he already is.

    Is Brian Urlacher overrated? Will a Super Bowl win change fans' perspective of him? Send your view to vitosview@comcast.net or sound off in the sports forums.




    Edited by: jcolec02
     
  2. jcolec02

    jcolec02 Mentor

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    I was suprised by Lovie smith saying this:


    The production propelled Bears coach Lovie Smith to reason that Urlacher was worthy of top defender honors for a second straight season.

    "Brian was (voted the) Defensive Player of the Year last year. I think he has played better this year," Smith said. "Everything we have asked him to do, he has done it well. He's gone beyond the call of duty. I can talk about Urlacher for a long time. I think he is the best player in football. I'd make that statement."
     
  3. white tornado

    white tornado Mentor

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    Just look at the treatment of Urlacher compard to ray lewis it dosent get more obvious.
     
  4. backrow

    backrow Hall of Famer

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    [​IMG]
     
  5. jcolec02

    jcolec02 Mentor

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    yeah...that is a suprising and great statement...although im not sure if id agree (Peyton Manning, Ladanian Tomlinson)
     
  6. backrow

    backrow Hall of Famer

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    well, surely the best defensive player
     
  7. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    I like how Mike Singletary is described in the article as "charismatic." What's that based on, besides his bugaboo eyes that network cameras loved to show virtually every play? Oh that's right he's black, in which case it'srepetitive to mention that he has "charisma."
     
  8. jcolec02

    jcolec02 Mentor

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    Yeah Don, but Mike was a pretty good linebacker...
     
  9. White Mike

    White Mike Guru

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    any black who has less than 2 felonys is a "class act."
     
  10. bigman

    bigman Guru

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    Mike was a great linebacker andis agreat man. He is far far more than a "class act".
     
  11. White Shogun

    White Shogun Hall of Famer

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    Just out of curiosity, what makes him a great man? What does a person do to become 'far far more than a "class act?"
     
  12. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    I was remarking on the stereotypical way the article described Singletary, not on his abilities as a player.


    Yeah, and what makes him "far far more than a class act" and what white men, if any, also fit that description?
     
  13. Colonel_Reb

    Colonel_Reb Hall of Famer

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    Good question Don!
     
  14. DixieDestroyer

    DixieDestroyer Hall of Famer

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    No way is Urlacher overrated. He's the best defensive player in league, and I'm no Bears fan.
     
  15. Extra Point

    Extra Point Master

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    This thread is from 2007 and the racists are still saying Urlacher is overrated. The rhetoric never changes. No matter how good a white player is he usually doesn't get the credit he deserves.

    Urlacher has been one of the biggest impact players in the league for over a decade. He is not and never has been overrated.
     

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