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Leaping linebacker, what a play
Monday in lake Forest, Brian Urlacher's defensive teammates were still talking about his leap over Atlanta running back Warrick Dunn Sunday.
Late in the third quarter with the Bears up 14-13, Urlacher charged in on a blitz. Dunn tried to block the linebacker low, but Urlacher hurdled the diminutive back and got a shot on Falcon quarterback Michael Vick, whose pass skidded short, resulting in a Falcon punt.
"I was right behind him and it happened so fast I didn't realize what he had done," safety Mike Brown said. "When I saw it on the highlights when I got home I was like, 'That's pretty amazing to react that quick.'"
It was even impressive on TV. Injured defensive end Phillip Daniels, with his foot in a cast, watched the play from his living room.
"That was nice," Daniels said. "You know they're going to cut you, so the best thing to do is go over the top. I think it's a smart play on Brian's part to know that (Dunn's) going to cut and jump over. Sometimes it's hard."
When in doubt run: That's just what Vick did most of the game. He also made some pretty nice throws, too. But around the fourth quarter he seemed to hang out in the pocket a lot more.
Did all of those hits, some of then ruled late, have something to do with that?
"Sure it did," said Bear defensive end Bryan Robinson. "You're playing on turf. You got guys weighing 240 pounds hitting you slamming you to the turf; it's going to hurt. I'm sure he's sore today."
Lucky vs. good: A lot of the chatter on sports talk radio this morning was about how lucky the Bears have been last season and the first two games this year.
Receiver Marty Booker believes it's a little more than good fortune.
"If you want to say luck, you can say luck," Booker said. "But I think these guys have a winning attitude. I think last year with the San Francisco game and the Cleveland game and the way we stuck in there and pulled those things out, it got everybody believing. I think that builds confidence and morale and that's why when we're down going into the second half down 10, 17 points, whatever it is, we've been sticking in there and just fighting it out to the end."
Entering the second half trailing is no way to live every week. And it's something the Bears know they need to address.
"I wish I could figure it out," Brown said. "I have no idea. That's something we're trying to figure out why it takes us one half to really start playing well.
"I'd rather have us play well in the second half than the first half. Those are the important quarters, the third and fourth quarters. But you always want to get off to a good start, but we haven't been able to do that this year so far. Hopefully we can put two halves together and then you'll really see what this football team is capable of doing."
Keep 'em coming: Daunte Culpepper, Michael Vick and now New Orleans' Aaron Brooks. They may appear to be in the same mobile mold, but all three are completely different styles of quarterbacks, according to Bryan Robinson.
"I think Aaron Brooks is a little bit more confident standing in the pocket throwing the football," Robinson said. "Sure, if he sees an opening, he's going to run."
But the Bears will defend the Saints like they defended Minnesota and Atlanta: By stopping the run first. That includes the mobile quarterback running around trying to make something out of nothing.
"We don't want guys scoring 30, 35 points on us," Robinson said. "If that's not getting a (pass) rush but keeping that guy in front of you and then on third down going after him, trying to put him on the ground, that's what we try to do. We watch a lot of teams play (Minnesota, Atlanta and New Orleans) and (the defensive line) try to get upfield and there's a seam open and those guys squirt through there and they're off making plays. We're going to try and minimize the amount of plays they're going to make on us."
Tackles Keith Traylor and Ted Washington are instrumental in that containment-type game plan. Their huge size and quickness command double teams, which in turn free up the linebackers to make the tackles.
"We have the best trio of 'backers," Robinson said. "And there's some really talented 'backers out there, but if we do what we do up front and stay disciplined within our defense, those guys will be making plays. Ted and Keith play well every week. They keep blockers off Brian (Urlacher) and Brian makes 15, 20 tackles a game. That's what he's supposed to do."
Which is why Jauron seemed so concerned about the possibility of losing Washington for an extended period.
"We'll see what happens with Ted," Jauron said. "He's an amazing guy in a lot of ways. Hopefully he's an amazing healer."