Bears

McNeil: Could The End Be Here For Urlacher?

Lovie Smith and Brian Urlacher. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Lovie Smith and Brian Urlacher. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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Editor’s Note: Here is an excerpt of Dan McNeil’s column in the Chicago Tribune from Saturday, before the Bears 41-21 victory over the Colts. McNeil thinks we may have seen the last of the dominant Brian Urlacher. Do you agree with him?

By Dan McNeil-

Pardon me if I’m a smidge disjointed with this one. I have had no experience writing about a Bears offense with players at the skilled positions who are capable of taking a team to a Super Bowl.

And I have no memory of a Bears defense that appears to be this inferior.

As sexy as the Bears appear offensively this year, the team isn’t trustworthy because Brian Urlacher’s left knee may be shot. It’s not a pleasant opening weekend thought, but there’s a concept that needs warming up to — this season has the earmarks of Urlacher’s swan song.

I’m wagering on coach Lovie Smith to be smart and play Urlacher sparingly Sunday against the Colts. Neither Smith nor Urlacher has flirted with offending their opponentt with suggestions the opener is anything less than enormous — for Urlacher and the team.

There isn’t a good reason to play Urlacher more than a quarter, even less if he’s as ineffective and tentative as Cowboys’ tight end Jason Witten, who tried to be the macho hero and played 45 snaps with a ruptured spleen Wednesday against the Giants.

Whatever happens Sunday will not change my mind on the 2012 Bears. They’ll go 9-7 and miss the playoffs.

For the rest of this column, please click here.