Brian Urlacher was the face of the Chicago Bears franchise from 2000-2012. There was a short period of time after Urlacher’s release that included some tension between him and the organization, but that was mainly due to Phil Emery’s negligence. Since then, Ryan Pace has made Halas Hall more welcoming for former players like Brian Urlacher. You may even see his billboards littered throughout the highways. He is tackling baldness every single day.
When it comes to Bears football, if Brian Urlacher speaks, Chicago listens. That’s why the tweet below has taken so many people by surprise.
Personally, I’ve always thought the Bears would have been better off keeping Kyle Orton. As much as people don’t want to hear this, that early 2000s Bears team was built to play keep away. They had an elite defense. Remember last year how many were saying that “it’s impossible for the Bears to duplicate their turnovers from 2018.” In the Lovie Smith era, the Bears produced fewer than 30 turnovers twice, and both times they were in the high 20’s.
All you needed for that team was to keep investing in the defense and offensive line supplemented with a quarterback who could take care of the ball. I’ll never say Orton was a better talent than Jay Cutler, but he did take care of the ball a lot better. That’s because he took fewer chances and threw mostly short and intermediate routes. That low-risk, low-reward style of play is exactly what the Bears needed on those 2000s teams. In 2009, the Bears committed 28 turnovers and still had a -6 turnover differential. This negative turnover differential was aided by Cutler’s 26 interceptions and nine fumbles.
The Bears didn’t need a gunslinger that gave the ball away, and they didn’t need to give away two first-round picks for him. Jay Cutler would have had a better career if he didn’t go through a Rolodex of personnel and coordinators, but at the end of the day, he never seemed to make the best of a bad situation and rarely performed at his highest level.
Strategically, the best thing the Bears could have done in that situation was riding it out with Orton for a couple more years. I won’t pardon Phil Emery or Jerry Angelo, and it’s not Jay’s fault, but his singing was the first domino to fall for the Chicago Bears rebuild. Invest in Jay, and you need to invest around him. As the Bears paid offensive players, the defense began to unravel. Now here we are with Ryan Pace and Mitchell Trubisky.