Baltimore Ravens

Brian Urlacher: Ravens Would Be Wise to Avoid Future Hall of Famer

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 30: Brian Urlacher #54 of the Chicago Bears watches the action during the game against the  Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 30, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. The Bears defeted the Lions 26-24.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images
Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIMarch 30, 2013

As a lifelong Chicagoan, I have been able to appreciate Brian Urlacher's entire career with the Chicago Bears, but his time as a difference-making middle linebacker is over.

Per Bovada.lv, Las Vegas oddsmakers have listed the Baltimore Ravens as the most likely landing spot for the future Hall of Famer.

On name recognition alone, Urlacher may sound like a perfect replacement for another future Hall of Famer, Ray Lewis, but he's not.

Much like Lewis last season, Urlacher has lost more than a step in the speed department. That has always been his best attribute.

Urlacher is obviously still a very savvy player, but he will be 35 years old by the time the season starts, has battled a rash of injuries over the last two seasons and needs to play with great players around him to hide his deficiencies.

Last season, Lewis returned in time to help inspire the Ravens to a successful Super Bowl run. While his presence likely made a positive emotional impact on the team, he was clearly a shadow of himself throughout the postseason.

The play of Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe, Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard helped to hide him. The same was the case for Urlacher in Chicago, where Julius Peppers, Lance Briggs and Henry Melton kept Urlacher's falloff from being more apparent.

Kruger, Ellerbe, Reed and Pollard have all moved on from Baltimore, and while the Ravens have added Elvis Dumervil to take Kruger's place as a pass-rusher, there is a lot of uncertainty on the defensive side of the ball.

This unit may not be as strong as they were at the close of last season and in the playoffs.

Even though Urlacher may come at a bargain, the Ravens are trying to repeat as champions, and this defense with Urlacher simply wouldn't be good enough.

Signing Daryl Smith, (formerly of the Jacksonville Jaguars) or bringing back Bart Scott, who was released by the New York Jets, would be smarter moves.

As a lifelong Bears fan, it was sad seeing Urlacher leave town. But in watching him over the last two seasons, it was clear his skills had eroded. 

The Ravens would be wise to take notice of that as well.

 

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