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Brian Urlacher Conf. Call Transcript - 11/3/02

Urlacher on the 2001 Patriots: I think what they did last year was awesome because every week they were underdogs and ... they proved everybody wrong.



BU: Hello?

Q: Hi Brian, how are you?

BU: Good how are you doing?

Q: Fantastic. We talked to you two years ago, and here we are back, and a lot has happened in that time. Last year your team was one of the most powerful teams in the league until the playoffs, what's happened this season? What's been the reason for the . . .

BU: Debacle?

Q: Yeah, I guess if you want to call it a debacle.

BU: I really don't know to tell you the truth, we're just not doing the little things right now. All year long . . .we obviously won our first two games, and now we've lost six in a row, it's just that we're not making plays at those key times where we used to make those plays, now it seems like other teams are making them against us. It's different because we're not making those plays at key times.

Q: And the thing is last year you won all those tight games, this year you've got the two overtime games, you had a 14-13, last week, you're close.

BU: Oh yeah, we're not getting. . .except for the Minnesota game, we've been in every game. Every game comes down to the four-minute drill, and we just can't get it done.

Q: Of course this week you want to stop the slide and you're going against the defending Super Bowl champs, how do you view them and what they bring?

BU: Well, they do a lot of different things on the offense, they're capable of putting up a lot of points on you, and they are the defending Super Bowl champs, so it's a big challenge for us because we want to get there. Every player wants to get there, so it's a big challenge, they came off a big game last week, and we just got to get ready to play.

Q: People know you nationally not because of Chunky soup or other things like kids tagging you in the classroom, that's a great add, but the fact is that you are consistently leading, in fact every game you play you're the leading tackler, you're averaging 13, something I guess, I can't even remember, but in a league that is now policing hard hits, or hits that they feel are off, you don't have any problem with that, you've never been fined.

BU: My rookie year I got fined in the preseason.

Q: Oh, did you?

BU: At that point I kind of figured that I couldn't do that anymore. There's a thin line between hits and stuff like that. And it's getting to the point where I think about it when I'm on the field now because when you get to the quarterback you got to know that you can't hit him in the head, you can't touch him in certain spots, you've just got to know what you're doing and think when you're out there. I understand with the DB's it's a lot different because they're going full speed, and some of those hits, I don't agree with some of the fines, but that's the rule and you've got to abide by them.

Q: So it's a conscious thing in your mind during a game?

BU: I think so, I know I think about it when I get to the quarterback, 'how am I going to get him on the ground without getting fined.'

Q: What did you get fined for your rookie year?

BU: I left my feet and led with my head and hit the quarterback in the chin.

Q: When you say you're thinking about it consciously, are you thinking about the fine or the penalty?

BU: Oh, I could care less about the fine, it's the penalty, I don't want to hurt my team. I'll pay the fine, I just don't want to get 15 yards, usually when I get to the quarterback it's third down when I get to blitz.

Q: You're in an era now where this is a sensitive issue, certainly the commissioner's behind it, this league is based on Brian Urlacher making big plays, they love that, that's what it's about.

BU: That's what the game's about, and it changes the game and helps your team win. We haven't made enough of them this year obviously that's why we're not doing so well this year right now.

Q: Brian, have you taken a look at the Patriots tape yet, I'm trying to figure out why they seem to be effective at running screens.

BU: I haven't watched the screen tape yet. I watched a little bit this morning, and a little bit yesterday. I'm not sure, maybe they set it up pretty well, the offensive lineman may stay in a really long time before they leave the line of scrimmage, and the back does a really good job of selling it, you know, blocking behind the line of scrimmage. Then they release, and then by the time they get out there, everybody's already up the field, or the DB's are already 20 yards deep and so it's too late to react to it.

Q: Is the blocking usually one of the most primary components of it?

BU: I think so, once you get the lineman out front, if you have more than two of them out there it's tough for a DB to make a play with a lineman in front of him, and the only way to get him down is if someone chases him down from behind.

Q: Brian, do you admire the way they took on man for man each team and pretty much out-physicalled the opponent last year?

BU: I think what they did last year was awesome because every week they were underdogs and every week they proved everybody wrong. No one gave them a shot, even myself, I kept thinking they were going to get beat, I thought the Raiders would beat them, I thought Pittsburgh would beat them, and then in the Super Bowl I thought that maybe they would cover the spread. They come out and play hard and they play as a team, that's the thing I liked about them most last year. At the Super Bowl they all came out together, and I think they're a really close team.

Q: Does it mean something to you that the Bears have had such a wonderful history of very tough linebackers, Bill George, Mike Ditka, not Mike Ditka . . but [Dick] Butkus, and you. That's kind of a tradition with the Bears.

BU: Linebackers are yes. I'm not even close to where they were. Hopefully if I keep playing and get better and we'll hopefully win some games down the line, I can be close, but like you said it's such a great tradition, middle linebacker was started here with the Bears with Bill George, and he pretty much started the position. Hopefully when my career's over I could be somewhere close to where they are now.

Q: Brian, Is there any one thing the Patriots do that you have to watch during the game?

BU: I still think we have to stop the run every game and that's how we have to be successful. We have to stop the run first, I think we have to get them in a third and long, second and long where we get good chances to blitz, that's how we are successful, by putting teams in second and long, third and long, stopping them on first down, so if we can stop the run I feel like we can be successful.

Q: Brian is there one characteristic in this six-game losing streak you can point to and say, 'this is why we're losing.'

BU: we're not taking care of the details. We screw up too much, we have too many mental errors, I think that's the main thing, and the difference between last year. Last year we didn't have any mental errors, we'd have one or two a game and it didn't really matter because it's not that magnified. When you have nine or 10 a game it becomes a huge thing. When you've got one or two a play, that's all it takes for a touchdown, or a long run, or a long play or something like that. So we've got to start doing the little things right and concentrate on each of our jobs.

Q: Brian how has the adaptation been to basically play all your games on the road?

BU: It was tough at first because travelling every weekend is tough, but our fans keep coming out there, and that's really the only thing that matters to us. As long as our fans show up every week we'll be fine, and travelling is not fun every week, but we'll get through this season and hopefully we can win some more games here at the end.

Q How's the room service at that hotel in Champagne?

BU: They don't have any. It's not a great hotel, our remotes have volume and sound buttons, that's it, there's no numbers on the remotes.

Q: Where do you go when you're hungry?

BU: There's a McDonalds's down the street, they got a Hooters down there. What more could you want, all the healthy food you need

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