Chicago Bears

Is Bears' Super Bowl window closing?

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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: Where does Kyle Fuller fit with Prince Amukamara back?

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USA TODAY

Bears: Where does Kyle Fuller fit with Prince Amukamara back?

Prince Amukamara (ankle) is expected to make his 2017 regular season debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers after being a full participant in practices Thursday and Friday (he wasn't listed on Friday's injury report). But that leads to the question: What does defensive coordinator Vic Fangio do with Kyle Fuller?

Fuller acquitted himself well in starts against the Atlanta Falcons — in which he helped limit Julio Jones to four catches on five targets — and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bears signed Amukamara to start opposite Marcus Cooper, but Fuller has at least earned the opportunity to keep his job — or a job — on Sunday. 

And it's worth noting that both Fuller and Amukamara are in contract years, so both should be motivated to not lose playing time going forward. 

“I was pleased with the waay Kyle played overall,” Fangio said. “There's obviously some plays he'd like to do over and play them a little better, but overall I thought he did a good job. I like where he's at right now.”

Fangio didn’t play Fuller as a nickel corner in 2015. But if the Bears want to get their best defensive players on the field could Fuller force his way into a nickel role with Amukamara and Cooper as the outside guys? 

That’s an especially pertinent question given Pittsburgh’s explosive trio of receivers: Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster. 

“No matter where a receiver lines up, it’s not going to be a down to take off,” Amukamara said. “We’re always going to have to have our ‘A’ game.”

What Mitchell Trubisky learned in that pre-draft workout with Ben Roethlisberger

What Mitchell Trubisky learned in that pre-draft workout with Ben Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger came away from his pre-draft workout with Mitchell Trubisky — the two share the same agent — impressed, an opinion which the longtime Pittsburgh Steelers detailed on Wednesday. The feeling was mutual for Trubisky. 

“Yeah, Big Ben’s awesome,” Trubisky said. “It was really special and really a privilege to learn from him. … “I’ve really looked up to him ever since he came out because he’s an Ohio guy as well. He came from Miami, Ohio. And it’s unique he was able to have success early on in his career and that’s what you try to duplicate as a quarterback coming into this league, and just how he carries himself, how competitive he is. I just try to take those things and hopefully add them into my own game as well.”

Roethlisberger — who went to high school in Findlay, Ohio, which is about two and a half hour west of Trubisky’s hometown of Mentor — won every game he started his rookie year and won his first of two Super Bowls a year later. Beyond his success quarterbacking the Steelers over these last 14 years, though, Trubisky felt he could learn something from how Roethlisberger has been a leader in Pittsburgh’s locker room. 

“(He) owns the locker room, no matter where you’re at,” Trubisky said. “I think it’s just the type of person you are. You’re competitive. You’re an alpha. You know how things are supposed to be done and you won’t settle for anything less than what has to be done. You’re settling for nothing less than excellence. That’s what he strives he for and, I mean, that’s what we’re all striving for.”

Eventually, the Bears expect Trubisky to command the locker room in the same fashion (he certainly has the self-belief and confidence to do so). And perhaps he'll have the same kind of trophy-driven success over a long period of time enjoyed by Roethlisberger, too. While Trubisky isn't in control of his career just yet, that was another lesson he took away from Roethlisberger.

"One of the big pieces of advice he gave me was really take control of your career," Trubisky said. "And I think that's kind of how he instills how he carries himself in the locker room, on the practice field, at the line of scrimmage. The play is going to go how he wants it and that's really how I want my career to go. Just exactly what you dream of, and take control and get everyone to buy into the same plan. I think that's how you create a winning culture -- really taking control, really taking ownership and hopefully that trickles down through the rest of the team."