Eager to get going

Urlacher is healthy and optimistic about his defense

September 10, 2009, 2:14 PM

By: Jeff Dickerson

Expect a different Brian Urlacher in 2009.

Brian Urlacher

Kevin Hoffman/US Presswire

Brian Urlacher said the most important thing the Bears defense is doing is playing fast.

"I feel stronger," Urlacher said on Thursday. "I didn't have to rehab this offseason, I was just able to train for football. I had a good training camp, stayed healthy, and got through the preseason games pretty good. I just feel confident in my body, and my abilities again.

That's excellent news for the Chicago Bears -- they need their middle linebacker to dominate like he did before back and neck issues slowed him down in 2007-08. In fact, the defense already may be feeling the residual effects of Urlacher's improved health. The six-time Pro Bowl selection claims to seen a significant improvement in the unit this summer.

"We're playing fast," said Urlacher. "That's the No. 1 thing we did in the preseason. We made some mistakes, we're going to do that, but we played fast. We got to the football, guys got there and they hit. That's fun."

One guy singled out by Urlacher was new starting strongside linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa. Sunday night could serve as a sort of redemption for Tinoisamoa, who was cut by the Rams this offseason -- despite recording a team-high 135 tackles.

"Pisa flies to the football," said Urlacher. "He plays fast. He's not the biggest guy, but he's always in the right spot and has fun when he's out there. He fits in well with us, because we do the same thing."

Or at least, that's always the goal.


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