Are you ready for the NFL season? As a diehard baseball fan who can’t get enough of the hardball, I too cannot wait for the pigskin to be placed on the freshly cut grass as the best players in the world face off for a chance at the storied trophy.
Most teams look forward to getting out of training camp and playing the first meaningful game of the season. For the Chicago Bears, that game is Week 1 against the Indianapolis Colts, who were the worst team in the NFL last season.
Since then, the Colts have mostly cleaned house and added their own vision of the future to the roster. The biggest addition to their team is rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, the first pick in the NFL draft this offseason.
I have heard many talk about the possibility of sitting middle linebacker Brian Urlacher for the Colts game because the Packers game just four days later on Thursday night is more important. Oh, how wrong you people are.
For those that are sitting around thinking the Colts are going to be a guaranteed win, please explain that to me. Because Curtis Painter isn’t any good and couldn’t lead an NFL offense? That should really hold back this year’s offense, right?
There is no guarantee that the Bears are going to beat the Packers with or without Urlacher, but one thing is certain: there is certainly no promise they can beat the Colts without their defensive leader on the field.
Don’t think rookie quarterbacks can be any good in the first year? Last year, Cam Newton became the first pick of the 2011 NFL draft, and was a pick most experts laughed at, saying the Panthers were reaching at best. In Newton’s first game, he shattered records, throwing for 422 yards and threw for two touchdowns. The year before, Sam Bradford threw for 253 yards and one touchdown while throwing three interceptions, two coming in the fourth quarter while the Rams were driving. Matt Stafford’s first game consisted of him throwing for 205 yards and three interceptions against the New Orleans Saints his rookie year.
Young quarterbacks will have their up and down games, and often the games are to both extremes. If Andrew Luck has anywhere near the success Newton had in his first game, the Bears could be in for a long day.
While Bears fans sit back and say it is more important for Urlacher to player against the Packers, could you imagine the Monday morning quarterbacks calling in on the radio if the Bears begin the season 0-1? It is hard to sit here and speculate on the exact health of Urlacher. If he is healthy enough to be cleared to play, the captain of the defense should be out there. The window is running short on this defense, and the expectations for the team this season are higher than ever. Starting off on the right foot is imperative to the success of this team, and that includes the play up the middle. The only thing we can do as Bears fans is sit back and wait for September 9th.
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