The off season listapalooza continues on over at NFL.com. Pat Kirwan is back at it lumping each position out in in groups of five players. We took him to task with his look at the safety position, and his inexcusable exclusion of The Hitman Chris Harris, but I think Bears fans will be happier with his linebacker groups. Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs are both listed in his top 10 inside linebacker groups.
But 'Briggs plays outside linebacker' you say, and I'll say, you are correct. With the different responsibilities performed by 3-4 OLBs and 4-3 OLBs Kirwan decided to rank strong-side OLB's with inside linebackers. But 'Briggs plays weak-side outside linebacker' you say, and I'll say, you are correct yet again. I really don't know his reasoning behind this one. All I can is I agree with it. If Briggs were a 3-4 linebacker, he would probably play inside. He's one of the very best 4-3 weak-side OLBs in the league, but his list is what it is...
We'll take a look at what he said about grouping Urlacher in with the A group.
Brian Urlacher, Bears (v): Is the heart and soul of the Chicago defense and possesses rare coverage skills. He struggles at times to disengage from blocks but still found a way to be in on 125 total tackles and deliver 4 sacks, 10 passes defended and register 10 tackles for a loss.
Ugh, that get off the block thing again... He's 6'4" and when he gets a little high and someone gets into his chest it's very evident on film. Sometimes linebackers get blocked, but with the taller ones it's more obvious.
And here's what he said about Briggs;
Lance Briggs, Bears (>): Even Urlacher was quick to point out recently that Briggs doesn't get the credit he deserves for his excellent play. Briggs is a sideline-to-sideline, run-and-hit, weak-side linebacker who also is an excellent blitz rusher. He was credited with 89 total tackles in 2010 and had 7 passes defended, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles.
Oh... what do you know, he did know Lance plays on the weak-side...