Lovie Smith: “Brian [Urlacher] will be our [middle] linebacker”

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Brian Urlacher missed his sixth consecutive practice, and Bears coach Lovie Smith seems to be tiring of the constant questions about his star middle linebacker.

“I know a lot of you are asking about Brian Urlacher,” Smith said. “He’s been excused again for personal reasons. When we have more information, Brian will be our Mike linebacker this year and those kinds of other things out there.”

Mike is another name for middle linebacker. Sam is another name for strongside linebacker, and Will is another name for the weakside spot.

Asked about the depth at the position, Smith said, “We like our depth.

“Nick Roach is our backup Mike linebacker. He had an outstanding day yesterday. Nick has played good, winning football for us around here. Dom DeCicco has played, it’s a great opportunity for younger guys like Dom to get reps. During the course of the year you have injuries. Training camp is a great time to develop some of that depth.”

Asked if Roach could play middle linebacker in the future, Smith said, “Brian is going to be playing it full time.

“Nick is a great Sam and if we need him to play Mike, he’ll be able to fill in.”

It’s somewhat alarming that Urlacher has missed six practices in a row. But, he knows Smith’s defense better than any other player, and the Bears are wise to err on the side of caution.

What’s the upside of rushing him back?

Ideally, Urlacher does need to get on the field during the preseason, but he can afford to miss time at training camp. The goal, of course, should be to get him fully healthy and try to get him some snaps in a preseason game or two.

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