The heart of The Chicago Bears, has always been The Man in The Middle. Bill George, Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary, and Brian Urlacher.
The guy who leads the team out onto the hallowed ground of Soldier Field. THE MAN
We have the tradition of fielding a future Hall Of Fame player that is the heart of the defense.
We drafted two players in this years draft that, although the above players named played in a 4-3 formation, our system is now a 3-4 style formation.
It still fields inside linebackers that co-relate to the style, but in a different way.
I look at this position as the Heart of The Bears, the fulcrum of the defense, the spindle of the wheel, in that everything spins off this position. Always the captain, leader, play caller and play maker. Everything projects from this area on the field, when the defense takes position.
The history of The Chicago Bears would only be fifty percent true if this position was erased or did not include players who played middle linebacker. Thirty percent running back position and twenty percent special teams, are what we would be discussing, if this position was omitted.
Bill George #61, was the first player in to elevate the position, by dropping into coverage of the middle of the field. The short yardage pass catching became popular in the mid fifties. Instead of going forward and getting blocked or held up, whilst the opposing QB dunked a short yardage catch, Bill dropped back and either caught the football himself, or tackled the catcher, for a loss.
Next man up is Dick Butkus,#51 The Meanest Monster of The Midway. The way he hit the opposing ball carrier,or QB was devastating. He dished out the pain recklessly, as well as playing with pain himself ( read Flesh and Blood: How I Played The Game ) . A true big hitter,a disruppture of opposing players game plans, and elevating players around him. He was in a class of his own, no player could play like that now.
Mike Singletary #50 Samurai Mike, or Shark eyes. Looking over the O-line and into these eyes was scary for the opposing QB. It was looking into these soulless pupils that was a learning curve, "where coming after you", "I like this type of party, I could party all day like this" where some of the things that got called towards the Quarter Back that faced him. I looked at him as if he was directing traffic, and the vehicles he was moving had to be players alongside him, Dent, Marshall, McMichael ET AL. This type of player like Mike Singletary still exist in The NFL , but without the 4-6 D scheme that he could orchestrate with great effect.
Brian Urlacher #54, The face of The Chicago Bears franchise. From New Mexico came a breath of fresh air, the number 9th pick of the first round, The Bears selected him. A hybrid player who was a gifted athlete, in that he could play the position from sideline to sideline, forward, backward and deliver the goods in tackling, causing fumbles for loss or intercept the pass and get a pick six. Scoring on the defense that would enable them to win close games, as the Bears where not a QB gifted team. Expanding the cover 2 defense in The Lovie Smith era. Elevating the players around him, Charles (peanut) Tillman, Lance Briggs,Adewale Ogunleye, Mike Brown, all the players around him became better than projected, when they took the field led by him.
I am hoping that there is a player on this years rosta than can also lead the team like these middle linebackers did. Kwiatkowski, Smith,Iyiegbuniwe. Hopefully we get to see what these players bring to the table, and if not, we take a player in next years, or future drafts, that have the traits for The Heart of The Team. It is a big hat to wear, and a big challenge.