LAKE FOREST – When it comes to creating energy on the field in 2020, it’s all about the players.
There are no fans being allowed in to stadiums due to COVID-19, and the few that do only allow a limited amount. On Sunday, the Bears will have about 5,000 people in the stands at Bank of America Stadium to watch them play the Panthers in Charlotte.
For Brent Urban, creating energy is something he likes to do, and he’s come up with a unique way to do it.
A couple of times in 2020, he’s pulled out the “Air Guitar” celebration after sacks or tackles for loss. That included a play against the Bucs in a win at Soldier Field on October 8th.
So where did the inspiration for the celebration come from?
“I kinda had it in the back pocket, man,” said Urban of the “Air Guitar. “I’m a big energy guy, especially with no fans, I’m trying to make it fun and have my teammates feed off of me.”
Urban said that when he’s doing the celebration he pretends he’s Duane Allman, who was the lead guitarist for The Allman Brothers Band.
“I don’t know that he played as crazily as I was celebrating. but I get a little juiced up,” said Urban of the impression.
Signed in the middle of the 2019 season, Urban has found a healthy amount of playing time in the Bears’ defensive line rotation. In 14 total games, he’s got ten tackles, three for loss, and one sack as he contributes to a defense that continues to be effective in a 4-1 start.
“I’m honestly just thankful to be around and be around this great group of guys,” said Urban of his role with the team. “Coach Jay (Rodgers) does a great job of rotating us and getting us all involved in the game, and honestly, I approach the game like a starter. We play not as much as a starter, but in important parts of the games still.
“I don’t view it so much that I’m a backup, but that I’m in the rotation kinda helping make sure the is no drop off.”
BENDING AND NOT BREAKING
There is a common term being floated around the Bears’ defense this year, and in many ways, it’s fitting.
Indeed the Bears’ defense has been “Bend Don’t Break” in the first five games in 2020. They are leading the league red zone opponent scoring percentage, with teams getting in the end zone just 36.8 percent of the time.
While the label might be appropriate, does the defense appreciate it?
“It’s definitely a football term, right? It’s something that during the course of a game you don’t have control over everything, especially when you’re playing players like Tom Brady, right? But your job is to knuckle up when you need to,” said defensive end Akiem Hicks. “Like I’ve said in previous interviews, when you’re back is against the wall, how hard are you going to fight, right? You see that when we step into the red zone, there’s no quit in our defense, there is no give up, there’s no ‘Go ahead, take this score and we’ll move on.’
“We’re playing football, and during the course of a football game, you’re going to lose a rep of two. Your job is to come back and play to the best of your ability and having a short memory – a term that has become cliche in our league – but you’ve got to have that. “
One of the words that’s been repeated over and over this week is “details.”
Matt Nagy’s charged-up news conference following the Buccaneers’ win is the reason why, since the coach was overly critical of his offense’s lack of details last Thursday night.
So what does a team do to fix that? Allen Robinson said it begins first in the mind.
“We just have to make sure that we aren’t hurting ourselves from a mental error standpoint. There’s going to be some physical errors and some plays that defenses make, but at the end of the day, we can’t put ourselves behind the “8 Ball” to start the play by having a mental error,” said the receiver. “So, again, I think that stands true across all facets of football is when you put yourself in the best position mentally you put yourself in that even better position physically to go out there and make that play.
“I agree with coach 110 percent. Again, we’ve got to be better in that mental aspect of it and then the physical stuff will take care of itself.”
STAT OF THE WEEK: 4-1
Teddy Bridgewater’s record against the Bears in his career during his time in Minnesota and New Orleans. That includes 281 yards passing in a win with the Saints at Soldier Field on October 20th of last season.