Four Down Territory, Feb. 23: Could Urlacher fill safety void?

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Jumping back into Four Down Territory, our first of what will be four installments this week. We’ll run a Q&A each day through Thursday this week. Here we go:

Q: Any possibility the Bears would consider moving Brian Urlacher to free safety since he played safety in college? It seems that with the choices in free agency it might make some sense and extend his playing career, enabling him to fulfill the four years left on his deal. Does he make too much money to play safety? Does he still have the speed? Would it be easier to find a starting middle linebacker to replace him than a starting free safety?

Also, is Kirk Barton under contract with the Bengals or is he a free agent? I thought he showed some potential before he was waived. Is there a chance the Bears would trade a low pick for a back up right tackle like Barton to eliminate the glaring need before the draft?

One more thing, have the Bears considered offering Mike Brown a coaching job? Given his knowledge and leadership, keeping him around to help develop unproven (unidentified) talent could really help the secondary and if the players they get to replace him don’t pan out or get injured, he could be reinstated to the roster.

John O., Shorewood, Minn.

A: We usually have a one question per e-mail rule, but we’re short on questions tonight.

1. There is zero possibility Urlacher will be moved to safety. If his range is deteriorating at middle linebacker, he certainly wouldn’t have it to play safety. It’s not even an option.

2. Barton is under contract with the Bengals, and finished the season there on injured reserve after spraining an ankle in practice. He went from the Bears to Miami, San Francisco, back to Miami and then the Bengals. That means three teams gave up on him and one did so twice. There is zero chance the Bears will look to trade for Barton.

3. Why would you offer a coaching job to a man who doesn’t want to coach? Brown plans to continue his playing career and most likely will have an opportunity or two to consider after the draft. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to try and involve someone who was just a peer with the players in the locker room immediately as a coach, either. Sorry, you’re 0-for-3 with these ideas.

Q: Why not use Greg Olsen at wide receiver? Don’t the Bears have a promising tight end from last year’s draft they could use?

Sid B., San Diego

A: Now that’s one the Bears really haven’t tried yet, taking someone out of position and seeing if they can fill the holes at wide receiver. Olsen is one of the better developing young tight ends in the league, and he stepped forward in his second year and probably would have done better had the entire offense not struggled so much from November on. Olsen doesn’t have the traits to be a top wide receiver. He’d be limited in what he could do because he’s not going to have the quickness or hip movement needed for top route running. Why not leave him where he’s best suited? I’m not sure the rookie from last season, Kellen Davis, will be more than a role player. We’ll see. He did some nice things in training camp last summer and then sort of faded.

Q: With the Michael Vick talk recently, it got me thinking: Are the Bears a pocket passing team because it is their offensive game plan or because their offensive line was old and immobile? With Ruben Brown and Fred Miller having left over the last couple of years, and John Tait talking about retiring, would an infusion of youth on the line get the Bears out of the pocket? If fewer college teams are running a pro offense, is it inevitable that the Bears will find a scrambling quarterback?

Jay, Schaumburg

A: Wouldn’t you settle for the Bears just finding a quarterback? You want them to locate a specific type now? Certainly the college game is evolving and there is more and more interest in the spread formation with ex-Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden talking for weeks now about his desire to study Florida’s system. But I know of nothing in the background of offensive coordinator Ron Turner or coach Lovie Smith that lead me to believe the Bears will seek out a mobile quarterback. And, no, I don’t see Vick having a chance with the Bears. At all.

Let’s get some questions rolling in. We’ll get back to another bunch tomorrow. Thanks for participating and thanks as always for reading.

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