BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- It's difficult to remember the last time Bears' fans had a legitimate beef with the club's productivity at linebacker.
With 15 combined Pro Bowl appearances between Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs -- not to mention sturdy play on the strong side throughout the years from Nick Roach, Pisa Tinoisamoa and Hunter Hillenmeyer - linebacker is always an assumed position of strength every summer when the Bears report to training camp.
Briggs, however, is convinced the linebackers can make a drastic improvement in one specific area: sacks.
"None of us got sacks last year," Briggs said. "We got darn close, but I think that's an important part of what this year means: getting to that quarterback, creating more turnovers and giving our team more opportunities to win a game."
Of course, the Bears' defensive scheme is all predicated on the front four generating the necessary pressure on the opposing quarterback, so it's not as if Briggs and Urlacher have been asked to blitz a ton since Lovie Smith installed the team's current defense in 2004. Since entering the league in 2003, Briggs has 10.5 career sacks while Urlacher has reached the quarterback a total of four times over the last four seasons, with all of those sacks coming in 2010 -- Urlacher did miss almost the entire 2009 season with a wrist injury. Of Urlacher's 43.5 career sacks (including playoffs), 22 occurred in the four years he played under former Bears defensive coordinator Greg Blache.
Briggs downplays the notion that age has any sort of relevance when it comes to getting to the quarterback - Briggs is 31-year olds while Urlacher recently turned 34.
"The whole 30-year-old thing and all that stuff doesn't really matter if you're out there producing and you're playing," Briggs said. "As far as I'm concerned, people can talk about my thirties until I'm in my forties."