Bears

Is Bears' Super Bowl window closing?

370189.jpg

Is Bears' Super Bowl window closing?

Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011
Posted: 3:31 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
Brian Urlacher interrupted the first question mid-thought during training camp when he sat down for an exclusive one-on-one with CSNChicago.com. Since hes been to a Super Bowl, two NFC Championship games, all kinds of Pro Bowls and such, what keeps him going?

Win the Super Bowl. Period, he declared. Its that simple.

It still is for the 33-year-old middle linebacker, who is savvy enough to read an offense and also a calendar.

We want to win now, he reiterated Thursday. Our window may be closing a bit; we are getting a little bit older. But

He indulged himself a touch of ironysarcasm, speaking with uncommon eloquence for someone with their tongue wedged so firmly in their cheek

We're still playing at a pretty high level, I think.

For as old as we are, we're still pretty decent, I guess.

But is the Bears Super Bowl window really closing?

Window-shopping

The easy answer lies in the 30-something linchpins of the defense; six of the starters are 30 or older, although not one of the backups is.

The Bears propped their Super Bowl window open a little wider in 2009 when they invested in Jay Cutler. They were within a touchdown of the Super Bowl last season, then went out in an abbreviated offseason and uprooted more than one-third (18 players) of their entire roster.

Indeed, do you know how many members of the Chicago Bears offense, starters or backups, are 30 or older?

One

Pretty decent, I guess

Since 2004, Lovie Smiths first as Bears coach, no team has scored more than 15 points (Packers, at Green Bay, 2009) in an opening game against the Bears. And that Green Bay game was the one in which the Bears lost Urlacher for the season with a wrist injury in the first half.

As good as the Bears were in 2010 defensively, Urlacher believes the difference in this team vs. that one is where it really matters:

Up front, he said immediately. I think we're good up front. Not only on defense, but on offense as well. Our line has played better, and I know preseason doesn't mean much, but we've got to take something out of it. I think they did a better job up front. Our defensive line is stacked. We go two-deep at every spot, and those guys get after it.

And it wouldnt be the time leading up to a season without the Bears being disrespected by pundits and experts. This year the Bears, who have had four winning seasons in the last six, find themselves picked below the Detroit Lions, who have had none in the last 10, in the NFC North by some.

We say this every year at this time, he said. It's the same thing; we're the underdogs again, that's the way it is every year. We seem to do decent at that role.

Then he went tongue-in-cheek again.

So we'll just do our best and go out there and try and give a couple teams a game this year. We'll do the best we can.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Bears backfield ranked fourth-best in NFL

Bears backfield ranked fourth-best in NFL

The Chicago Bears have a really good problem in their backfield. Both Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen will demand touches in 2018 and are each starting-quality running backs. Howard is the more traditional first and second-down back while Cohen offers top-tier playmaking ability.

The duo is so talented that they were recently ranked the fourth-best backfield in the NFL.

The Chicago Bears' Jordan Howard has emerged as one of the NFL's top rushers. He finished his rookie season with 1,313 yards, second-most in the NFL. Last season, he rushed for 1,122 yards and 4.1 yards per carry even though Chicago had the league's least threatening passing attack (175.7 yards per game).

Howard isn't the only standout back on the roster, though. Tarik Cohen is a supremely talented runner and receiver and a perfect complement to Howard. Last season, he amassed 370 rushing yards, 53 receptions and 353 receiving yards.

The Bears' backfield was behind only the Rams, Saints and Chiefs.

Howard set Chicago's rookie rushing record with 1,313 yards in 2016 and became the first Bears running back to start his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He should be the Bears' primary back, but coach Matt Nagy expressed genuine excitement over Cohen's skill set which suggests he plans on getting him the ball quite a bit this season.

Regardless of how the touches play out, the Bears will present opposing defenses with one of the most challenging ground games in the NFL.

    Tarik Cohen was NFL's best big-play RB in 2017

    Tarik Cohen was NFL's best big-play RB in 2017

    Tarik Cohen's rookie season with the Chicago Bears was an impressive blend of running, receiving and special teams play. He quickly became a household name. The combination of his diminutive frame and oversized personality made him a fan favorite, especially when he started gaining yards in chunks.

    In fact, of all running backs with a minimum of 80 carries last season, Cohen had the highest percentage of runs that went for 15 or more yards, according to Pro Football Focus.

    Cohen will have a big role in new coach Matt Nagy's offense this season because of everything he offers a play-caller. He's a weapon as a receiver out of the backfield and can chew up yards on the ground like any traditional running back. He's a hold-your-breath talent who can turn a bad play into a touchdown in the blink of an eye.

    Cohen had 370 rushing yards, 353 receiving yards and three offensive touchdowns in what can be described as a limited role last year. John Fox and Dowell Loggains didn't seem to ever figure out how to best use Cohen's skill set. That should be no issue for Nagy and Mark Helfrich, the team's new offensive coordinator, who both bring a creative offensive approach to Chicago.

    Jordan Howard will be the starter and will do most of the heavy lifting. But Cohen is going to have a much bigger role than he had as a rookie, and that should result in more big plays and points on the board.