Brian Urlacher in awe of Bears’ depth on defensive line
BY ADAM L. JAHNS email@example.com October 11, 2012 9:32PM
Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher (right) has had plenty of help from a deep and talented defensive line. | Phelan M. Ebenhack~AP
GET YOUR free BEARS ipad EXTRA
Download the free Sun-Times Bears Extra iPad app to get extensive Bears coverage delivered to you before and after every game. Includes iPad-only exclusives, such as in-depth statistical analysis, photo galleries, video and more. Available now in the App Store.
Updated: November 13, 2012 6:37AM
There are so many defensive linemen making an impact for the Bears right now that when linebacker Brian Urlacher was asked about their overall play, he was bound to forget at least one of them when rambling them off.
“All of them we’re playing with, Henry [Melton], Corey [Wootton], [Julius Peppers], [Israel Idonije], Amobi [Okoye], Stephen [Paea], you can go on and on about [the play of] those guys,” Urlacher said. “And Shea [McClellin] is doing well.”
To Urlacher, what the Bears’ defensive lineman — from All-Pro Peppers to rookie McClellin — are doing is special. To him, it’s the best group of defensive linemen he has played with in his 13-year career in the NFL.
“Yeah, no doubt,” Urlacher said. “I’ve played with some good ones earlier in my career. But just the total, it’s nine, 10 guys deep up there. There’s a group of guys who aren’t active on Sundays, and they can make plays. Talent-wise, this has to be best.”
Bears general manager Phil Emery said the most interesting thing about his defense is that “each and every week, especially among our defensive linemen, someone has played a little bit better than the rest of them.”
“If one guy was having an off day, someone has stepped up into the mix and has had a better day and has had a key play, like Corey Wootton did last week,” Emery said. “In some other games, that was Henry. In some other games, that was Paea.”
The defensive line — “They all play hard,” Urlacher said — has accounted for 16 of the Bears’ 18 sacks and 33 quarterback hurries. Their strong play and the record-breaking efforts of cornerback Charles Tillman and linebacker Lance Briggs have alleviated some of the burden on Urlacher to make impact plays.
Urlacher said it’s been frustrating working his way back from sprained medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments in his left knee, which he suffered in last year’s regular-season finale. He has 30 total tackles, one tackle for loss and three pass breakups this season.
Urlacher, though, said it’s fun being part of what the Bears’ defense is doing, especially with all the talent up front.
“I haven’t done anything,” a smiling Urlacher said. “I guess, I’ve been a big spectator this year. I make a few tackles here and there and make the calls, but that’s really about it so far. But I’ve enjoyed it.”