Brian Urlacher leaving the field towards the end of game looked bad, and according to the Chicago Tribune’s Vaughn McClure, it’s likely that was the last time you will see the linebacker this season.
“Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher is expected to miss the next three games and possibly the rest of the regular season with a Grade 2 hamstring strain, according to two sources familiar with his injury status.”
“Urlacher hopes to be fully recovered for the playoffs, provided the Bears remain in good postseason standing. A return for the Dec. 30 regular-season finale against the Detroit Lions is a possibility.”
The Chicago Bears made a roster move to combat the loss of Urlacher, signing LB Dom Decicco who was with the squad in training camp before suffering a groin injury that cost him a roster spot. The player that will be taking Urlacher’s place is six-year veteran Nick Roach.
Roach is familiar with the position having played some of it 09, when Urlacher was lost for the season with a wrist injury. He also filled in this past summer in training camp when Urlacher missed most of it recovering from a knee procedure.
So what are fans getting in Roach? While Urlacher will be missed as far as his full understanding of the defense and how offenses want to attack it, at this point in their careers, Roach is physically an improvement over him.
Roach has the athleticism, quickness, and speed to play the middle linebacker position in the tampa-2 scheme. The problem is mental with Roach, as he has displayed in the past that he doesn’t have the instincts to play position in the scheme.
Roach has a golden opportunity in front of him to secure the starting spot for next year and years after that. There’s a strong possibility that general manager Phil Emery won’t bring back Urlacher (contract expires after this season) and most of his resources will be used on trying to rebuild the offensive line and other issues.
If the Bears make the playoffs this year, Lovie Smith is brought back and he’s not going to trust a young player to play an important position. These last four games will be an audition for Roach for that position next year assuming the team makes the playoffs and Smith keeps his job.