Coaching changes don't bode well for Urlacher returning

Pro Football Weekly

Bears new head coach Marc Trestman is earning high marks for the staff he is assembling. Word is his ability to surround himself with experienced coaches with solid track records at the NFL level has impressed many in league circles, particularly the ones who might not have been overly complimentary about Trestman’s hire initially.

However, we hear the departure of several of former head coach Lovie Smith’s defensive assistants increases the probability that longtime MLB Brian Urlacher won’t return in 2013.

Because Trestman’s new defensive staff will have so few holdovers, the number of coaches willing to go to bat for Urlacher could be fewer, we hear.

New defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is expected to install a base 4-3 defensive scheme, and it remains to be seen if the aging Urlacher will be deemed a good fit — let alone if he’ll be healthy enough to re-sign. The eight-time Pro Bowler, who will turn 35 before next season begins, missed the final four games in 2012 with a hamstring injury — and his play had declined sharply prior to the injury.

It could take a hometown discount for Urlacher to be back in 2013. Regardless of whether he returns, the Bears need a better contingency plan than they have now — SLB Nick Roach is an unrestricted free agent and doesn't inspire much confidence as Urlacher's heir apparent.