Urlacher Still Sees Room for Improvement on D

Linebacker Brian Urlacher was obviously happy with last Sunday's shutout win over the rival Packers, but the perenniel All-Pro still thinks his defense can play better. They may have kept Brett Favre & Company off the scoreboard, but Ahman Green was able to post 110 yards on the ground. Urlacher addressed the media before practice on Thursday, and Bear Report was there to hear what he had to say.

There were very few complaints that Bears fans could have made after last Sunday's blowout win in Green Bay.

Sure, the offense bogged down in the red zone and had to settle for field goals. Yes, the defense let Ahman Green put up some good numbers on the ground. OK, neither Thomas Jones nor Cedric Benson had a big day running the ball.

That being said, a 26-0 blanking of the Packers and a 1-0 start to the regular season sounds just fine any way you slice it.

Although linebacker Brian Urlacher was pleased with his team's effort and elated with what he saw on the scoreboard, there were some negative elements from Week 1 that caught the reigning Defensive Player of the Year's attention.

"We made some mistakes," he said. "We gave up a couple long runs we shouldn't have given up ... gave up a bunch of yards. Like I've always said, yards don't win games, but when you have a shutout, you wouldn't want to give up that many yards."

New Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz has long been credited as one of the most innovative game-planners in the NFL, and even though Detroit only managed six points at home last week in a loss to Seattle, Urlacher knows Martz's system will present a challenge.

"They move around so much," he said. "They do a lot of shifting, a lot of motioning (and) try to get you to think about other things than what you're supposed to be doing. So we've got to be really fundamentally sound in that part of the game. Got to communicate really well. They run a lot of deep passes, man. They do digs of 20, 25 yards, and most teams don't do that, so you've got to stay back in your passing lanes."

The defense didn't get too much help on the other side of the ball in 2005, but considering how well the offense played last week in Green Bay, Urlacher believes showings like that can make his unit even better.

"Any time they move the ball and control it like they did last week," he said, "it's exciting for us to get a chance to rest on the sideline. I think we played 17 plays the first half or something like that. We were rested. The second half, I felt like I hadn't done anything. We were out there a little bit stiff."

The Bears were accused of being overconfident before last season's playoff loss to the Carolina Panthers, but Urlacher claims his team was still fairly reserved a year ago, and they might be even better equipped to handle success in 2006.

"I think most of us were pretty humble last year. I don't think anyone was gloating or anything like that after wins or anything like that. We still came to work every day. Even with all the doubters out there, we still came to work, and we did what we were supposed to do. But now we definitely have experienced that. We know how to deal with it."

Lions wide receiver Roy Williams and his much-balleyhooed guaranteed win is still one of the hot topics of conversation around Chicagoland, but based on what Urlacher saw this past Sunday, he doesn't seem the slightest bit worried.

"Well, if I scored six points and lost," he joked, "I don't know how much I would be guaranteeing a victory. They did play well. Their defense played pretty well. I know I heard they were really close to scoring 40 points, though. From what I heard, they were really close to getting 40. It's a big difference between six and 40, though. I know that much."

How much difference?

"Yeah, about 34 points."


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