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Bears Linebacker Brian Urlacher Press Conference

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            **Q:  How has the year gone for you?**  

U: I started at SAM (strong side linebacker) when I was drafted and I didn't feel very comfortable there. I didn't play well either in the preseason. I played there in the first game of the season. I didn't play a lot of snaps, but I played a lot of special teams. They moved me to MIKE (middle linebacker) for the second week, and started the third week. Ever since then, I feel like I've gotten better every week. I've had a few games where I've been up and down. I feel like I've been very consistent. I feel like I'm getting better every week.

Q: How is the defense doing?

U: I think we're just getting more comfortable with each other. We're not doing anything different. We have the same guys playing. We're just doing things better now and more consistently. Same calls are working now that weren't working earlier just because of the way we're playing. I think guys are playing a lot harder. We're just getting comfortable playing with each other.

Q: What allowed you to become more comfortable at middle linebacker?

U: I think at SAM, I mean, I played safety in college and I moved down to SAM and I wasn't used to banging with the tight end every down. I just didn't have any technique and I moved to the middle. It's just easier because I can see things inside out, just like I did in college. I have a little time to react with the linemen there. At SAM, they're on me right away. I'm sure I can learn it in time, but right away I wasn't looking very good. I think they saw that and decided to move me. At MIKE, it just seems easier for me.

Q: Can you see plays develop easier from middle linebacker?

U: I can see things more clearly. I have a little more time to react.

Q: Was switching positions hard for you? Were the expectations as a number one pick hard to live up to?

U: The switching positions was the toughest thing. I hadn't played linebacker in two years. I hadn't played SAM before, so that was the hardest thing. My teammates are cool to me. They had me out there starting from Day one, and I really didn't know what I was doing. I guess I got on a few of their bad side, because I was screwing up in practice, I just didn't know what I was doing. Now, everyone seems to be pretty cool now.

Q: Can you talk about Jerry Azumah?

U: I think Jerry is a great player. I think he got his first start last week, I'm not sure if it was the first of his career, or first one this year. I don't think they caught a ball on him all game. He played great. I think he's like me, he gets better the more he plays too. He's a great special teams player, I know that much. We watched film from last year and he's making every play. He just walked by. He's a smart guy. He has so much ability. He runs fast. He has good breaks. He's a great player. He's fun to play with too.

Q: Is Jerry Azumah a hard hitter?

U: He hasn't had a chance to hit anybody really. I'm sure he can be with the way he gets to the ball. I don't see how he couldn't be.

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