The Chicago Bears are on a roll. Yesterday they won their fifth straight game by taking down the Chargers 31-20. Unfortunately the win is going be very costly for Chicago. Quarterback Jay Cutler fractured his thumb on his throwing hand, he is going to have surgery on it this week, and will miss the rest of the regular season and quite possibly even longer. It’s a huge loss for the Bears and it’s a tough break for Cutler. Not only was he in the midst of one of his best seasons as a professional, but his play combined with the running of Matt Forte and the defense led by Brian Urlacher had people in the Windy City thinking Super Bowl and rightfully so. Before yesterday’s game the Bears looked like the biggest threat to the defending Super Bowl Champion Packers because they have a defense that can pressure the quarterback and limit Aaron Rodgers and they had a quarterback that could go pass-for-pass with Rodgers and is not afraid of the spotlight. Chicago should still be able to find a way to sneak into the playoffs, but their Super Bowl dreams were crushed by one unfortunate play that will cost them their quarterback and their offensive leader.
Brian Urlacher joined ESPN 1000 in Chicago with Waddle and Silvy to talk about yesterday’s game, Jay Cutler’s injury, how they plan to move on after Cutler’s injury, on Lovie Smith saying this is the best Bears team he has had, what he thinks about Caleb Hanie, and what he would say to all the people that want a veteran QB signed to replace Cutler.
On yesterday’s game:
“Well we won so that’s a good thing but it’s a bad deal. We lost our quarterback. Obviously everyone knows it. Ugh it’s frustrating. The guy is playing great and there’s really no reason to feel good about this in my mind. It’s terrible. We’re gonna be sad about it for a while but we also gotta get better. Caleb will do a good job for us. We all know what he can do. We saw him come in the Championship game last year and he came in the Carolina game and did a good job for us. We have confidence in him. All it means is us on defense, we have to play better and get the ball back to them in better field position. We’ll do that and try to do that the best we can but we’re 7-3, nothing is over yet.”
On the idea that they are still in the playoff hunt and how they plan to move on after Cutler’s injury:
“That’s gotta be our mood. We’re not gonna sulk. We’re sad, we’re definitely sad. This is terrible for our team and even worse for him. The guy is having a great season and then something like this happens but we gotta get through it. We’re still in a good spot with the Wild Card chase. Chasing the Wild Card because Green Bay is playing so well but that’s our mindset. Caleb is gonna come in and do a good job for us and we’re gonna play better on defense and we’re gonna find a way to get in the playoffs.”
On Lovie Smith saying this is the best Bears team he has had:
“I agree and I will tell you why. We haven’t been able to, like running the football wise, we’ve never been able to run when we want to like this year. Obviously with Jay in there we’re a lot better but throwing the football we’ve never been this good and to be able to run the ball. And defensively we’re as talented as we’ve ever been as well and we’re finally playing like we should We’re amazing on special teams. Every level we stack up with any team since I’ve been here.”
What he thinks about Caleb Hanie:
“The guy picks us apart in scout team every day. It pisses me off man. He does a good job in practice. Practice isn’t the game but it’s the other team’s offense. He doesn’t get any reps with the first team so it’s hard to say what he can do over there. I know he knows the offense and I’m not worried about that. I think he will do a good job. He’s a mobile guy, he brings that to the table just like Jay does, maybe not the arm strength that Jay has, but he’s been in the system a while, knows where to go with the football, and we have confidence in him. He did come in and do a good job in that Championship game. He was put into a tough situation and I think he will perform really well under pressure.”
What he says to all the fans that want a veteran to be signed:
“First of all we don’t know if Jay is out for the season. He’s still getting looked at I guess so no one knows that he is out for the season. We can win with Caleb Hanie that’s what I tell them. With the way we play defense and special teams and the way we run the ball, we can with those guys at quarterback. We’re not happy about what happened but we’re not gonna panic. As players I don’t know what the organization is doing but I know our coaches won’t panic. I think we’ll settle down here with practice this week and get Caleb in there and get his reps. We’re not panicking right now.”
On what he would say to Jay Cutler
“Keep your head up man. I feel so bad for him. The guy has had a great season. What he has done, how far he has come, and what he means to our team, it’s devastating for us and for him but just keep your head up. It’s not the end of the world. The season might be over, it may not be don’t know but keep your head up. If you need something we’re all here for him. I hope he knows that and I think he does. He’s our leader. There’s no doubt about it. He is the leader of this team. People can say what they want to about our defense but Jay Cutler is the leader of this team.”