Despite the injury Brian Urlacher suffered at the end of last season, as well as his age, it's rather surprising that the Chicago Bears never acquired an adequate backup to their middle linebacker for situations like this.
Doctors said Urlacher would miss about 2-4 weeks with a Grade 2 hamstring strain.
Hamstrings are always a tricky injury and Urlacher could be out for far more or less time as a result. But what's to make of the state of the Chicago Bears defense without him?
As we saw in the game against San Francisco, Urlacher has limited Chicago this year because of his mobility. We've seen them playing less of the Tampa-2 defense, and more single-high safety looks. As a result, the deep corners were open and Colin Kaepernick took full advantage.
Now that Urlacher is out, do they return to their Cover 2 scheme?
Although Chicago re-signed Dom DeCicco this week, who took snaps at middle linebacker in training camp, it's believed the Bears will slide strong side linebacker Nick Roach into the middle, and replace Roach with Geno Hayes on the outside. Does Roach understand the role of the middle linebacker in the Cover 2 scheme well enough to make the transition?
Looking back to 2009, the last time Roach replaced Urlacher in the middle, the answer is no. Roach didn't play well then, so who's to say he will now? For as great a job as general manager Phil Emery has done with this team, middle linebacker is the one glaring hole he failed to deal with.
Urlacher is 34-years-old, coming off an injury. How can a roster spot not be filled with someone who could step in and play proper scheme? Instead, Chicago will be forced to weaken two positions (middle and strong side linebacker) to fill the hole of Urlacher's injury.Brian Urlacher, Chicago, Chicago Bears, Colin Kaepernick, Dom DeCicco, Football, Geno Hayes, NFL, Nick Roach, Phil Emery