The Bears went 11-5 last season, won the NFC North, and were a game away from the Super Bowl. Because of the lockout, there hasn't been an offseason to speak of aside from the NFL Draft. That could change if the owners and players can quickly come to a resolution and free agency can begin. Or it could drag out late into the summer and the rosters could look a lot like they did in 2010 (assuming there is a 2011 season).
Not sure if Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher did that lockout calculus, but during an appearance last week at Governor Bent Elementary School in Albuquerque, NM on behalf of the NFL's "Fuel Up to Play 60" physical fitness initiative, the 11-year veteran had some thoughts on Chicago's chances in 2011.
"I think we’re the best team in our conference," Urlacher told the Albuquerque Journal. "I know we’re not the Super Bowl champs like the Green Bay Packers … We want to be the best in our conference and to be there, we’ve got to go through Green Bay."
During the 2010 regular season the Bears were the best team in the NFC North. But the Packers, a team that overcame a ton of injuries to key players, got hot in the playoffs and ended up winning the whole thing.
Whenever the 2011 season gets underway Green Bay will be the favorites to win the conference. That said, it wouldn't be a surprise if the Bears repeated, either.
But first, there is some business to attend to.
"Look, fans don’t buy tickets to see (owners) Virginia or Brian McCaskey," Bears kicker and player rep Robbie Gould told the Chicago Tribune last week. "They pay to watch Brian Urlacher, Drew Brees and all the great players. This lockout is all because of the owners’ greed. I’m sorry if that sounds cold, but it is the truth."
Urlacher's thoughts on the matter echo those of most fans.
"I’m not going to get into it. I want to play football. I know everyone else wants to play football. Hopefully we can make that happen soon."