By Dan McNeil-
If you’re passing on Friday night’s Bears-Giants game, I don’t blame you. Summer is evaporating and it makes sense to enjoy these final weekends before the leaves change colors.
For the Bears, however, this glorified scrimmage is the biggest day since training camp opened. And I have three reasons any self-respecting Bears fan needs to set the DVR for it.
1. Life without Brian Urlacher. The secrecy and subsequent firestorm of edgy comments from Urlacher and coach Lovie Smith regarding the middle linebacker’s reported trip to Europe for alternative treatment on his left knee confirmed what I already suspected: There is a strong possibility the Bears will open the season against the Colts without Urlacher.
I want to watch Nick Roach, the favorite to replace Urlacher, get off the blocks and make tackles. The company line is Roach is a much smarter, more experienced player than he was in 2009 when he subbed for Urlacher.
We’ll see about that. Urlacher’s absence three years ago devastated the run defense. The Bears were 23rd against the run while allowing a whopping 375 points.
Without Urlacher (and also Julius Peppers in the first scrimmage) the Bears allowed big chunks of rushing yards on the first series against both the Broncos and Redskins.
For the rest of McNeil’s column, please click here.