Last evening, in a conference call between the Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher and Chicago Bears season ticket holders, the soul of the teamâ€™s defense had high praise for his quarterback, Jay Cutler.
AndÂ last year, Urlacher was singing quite a different tune. But letâ€™s get back to the present time before we revisit the past.
According to an article on the Bears Web site by Larry Mayer, when asked by a fan during the conference call about what he thought of Cutler, Urlacher first said he had high expectations for the quarterback this season. He added, â€œJayâ€™s awesome. He throws the ball as well as any quarterback in the NFL. If we can protect himâ€”which I think we will doâ€”I think heâ€™s going to have a great year.â€
Urlacher also had praise for new offensive coordinator, Mike Martz's offense, defensive coordinatorÂ Rod MarinelliÂ and the team's offseason acquitsitions. He's excited to be back and so are Bears fans.
Now, letâ€™s rewind to last season. Itâ€™s Week 12 and Urlacher was sitting out for the season with a wrist injury; the Bears were 4-7 and Cutler was well on his way to throwing his 20-plus interceptions for the season.
Urlacher had the following to say about his quarterback in a Yahoo! Sports article by Michael Silver, â€œLook, I love Jay, and I understand he's a great player who can take us a long way, and I still have faith in him.Â But I hate the way our identity has changed.Â We used to establish the run and wear teams down and try not to make mistakes, and we'd rely on our defense to keep us in the game and make big plays to put us in position to win.Â Kyle Orton might not be the flashiest quarterback, but the guy is a winner, and that formula worked for us.Â I hate to say it, but that's the truth."
And then,Â Urlacher tries to take back his comments to the local media.Â He said the following Â to the Chicago Tribuneâ€™s Vaughn McClure, â€œI'm not one bit taking a shot at Jay.Â He throws it better, right?Â And we haven't tried to run the ball as much. That's true. But Kyle has won games.Â His formula works.Â So I'm not taking a shot at Jay or Kyle."
Only time will tellÂ if Cutler hasÂ a better season. Not only are Urlacherâ€™s expectations high, but so are Bears fans with all the offseason changes and what appears to be an increased chemistry between Cutler and his team.
But after this week, it could be a different story for the city of Chicago. Maybe expectations for the Bears will lessen a bit: ChicagoÂ may be a hockey town again after 49 years!