BBAO: Quiet start for Brian Urlacher

It's a tribute to the Chicago Bears' defense, and perhaps also an indication of my early senility, that middle linebacker Brian Urlacher didn't make our "By the bye" post Thursday. Urlacher was probably the most-discussed player on the Bears' roster during training camp, given his offseason-long struggle to recover from a knee injury, but his relatively quiet start to the season hasn't gained much attention.

Urlacher has 20 total tackles in five games and has batted away two passes while playing 267 of a possible 325 snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. To his credit, Urlacher acknowledged that he hasn't been himself during an interview Thursday with ESPN 1000.

"I've been lucky because our defense has been playing so well," Urlacher said. "I haven't done anything, and look what we've done so far. ... I have to think those plays are going to start coming my way, and when I need to make them, I will. I was put in position to make a lot of plays, some of them I didn't make.

Urlacher added that his knee "feels different" but said: "[T]here's no doubt in my mind I'll be able to be an impact player again. I just have to keep getting better."

That's a relatively stark admission from a proud player who will have to grind through at least 11 more games in his current condition. It's worth continued monitoring, but to this point, there is no way to argue that Urlacher's reduced playmaking has hurt the Bears. Other players have most definitely stepped up.

Continuing around the NFC North: