Bears

Urlacher away from team after death of mother

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Urlacher away from team after death of mother

Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011
Posted: 1:12 p.m. Updated: 4:06 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
The family emergency for which Brian Urlacher was called away in the wake of Sundays game was one of the worst.

Urlachers mother Lavoyda passed away and the veteran middle linebacker is with his family.

"My mother, Lavoyda, unexpectedly passed away Monday at her home in Texas, Urlacher said in a statement released by the Bears. My first priority right now is to be with my family as we mourn her loss and make the arrangements to lay her to rest. This is a very difficult and emotional time for us and I sincerely ask that you respect our privacy. Thank you."

Understanding grief

The tragic passing of Urlacher's mother overshadowed some of the mid-week mood ahead of an upcoming game. Players typically begin preparations and film study Wednesday but some of their thoughts were first with their teammate.

Yeah, it's going to be tough for our football team, but we're understanding, said wide receiver Roy Williams. Whoever takes his spot is going to have to play well. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family, but he's the emotional leader of this football team, so we've got his back.

Urlacher is expected to be back but the alternatives need to be fully prepared. Those options are rookie Dom DeCicco, a converted safety signed as an undrafted free agent before training camp, and strongside linebacker Nick Roach, himself an undrafted free agent (San Diego, 2007) but who started three games in the middle when Urlacher was out for the season in 2009.

You can't replace that guy and you can't find a guy like that in the league, said quarterback Jay Cutler. He's the heart and soul of this organization and we all know he's going through a tough time right now but we're going to respect his privacy. When he gets back we're here for him.

Added defensive end Israel Idonije, First and foremost is taking care of your family.

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.