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Briggs says window for title isn’t closing

Lance Briggs AP

The Bears 0f 2006 figured they had a young defense built to make a long playoff run annually.

It took another four years just to get back to the playoffs, which raises a fair question:  Is this the chance for the Brian Urlacher-Lance Briggs Bears defense to win a title?

“No, no, I’m 30,” Briggs said Wednesday, “not dead.”

Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com looks at the issue in depth.  While the Bears aren’t that old on the whole, so much of the core of their defense is 29 or older:  Briggs, Urlacher, Julius Peppers, defensive tackle Tommie Harris, defensive tackle Anthony Adams, defensive end Israel Idonije, linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, and cornerback Charles Tillman.

Could Urlacher, Briggs, Peppers, Idonije, and Tillman all put together great years at the same time again?   Sure.

Is it particularly likely?   Not really.   It may not be their last chance, the odds are against them getting a better one.

The Bears know how rare it is that these opportunities come around, even when everyone is young.   Briggs called the opportunity “precious.”   His coach Lovie Smith agreed.

“If you’re in a position to go and you have a chance, like four teams that have the opportunity to get to the Super Bowl, and win it, you have to assume this is the only time you’re going to get that opportunity,” Smith said.

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18 Responses to “Briggs says window for title isn’t closing”
  1. jc1958coo says: Jan 20, 2011 9:52 AM

    it’ll be closed after a packers beat down sunday!
    if he thinks cutler will take him to the promised land, i want what he’s smoking.

  2. bucfandango says: Jan 20, 2011 9:54 AM

    Peppers was the missing piece the Bears needed, but he has been fortunate to stay healthy in 2010′. For the Bears to win, it comes down to 2 words: Rod Marinelli. No one is better at coaching D linemen and if Rod calls a good game, Rogers should spend a lot of time on his back banging his head on the turf.

    Bears 17 – Packers 3

    Oh crap, I’m awake now. Nice dream….

  3. autolend27 says: Jan 20, 2011 10:01 AM

    the window will start to shut at 3pm et. and should be closed at around 7:30 when the packers are nfc champions. f da bears i cant wait for this game.

  4. jmeist says: Jan 20, 2011 10:33 AM

    Closing? It’s closed — mediocre football team that has caught a ton of great breaks and sprinkled in a few decent showings here in there.

  5. gallopingghost says: Jan 20, 2011 10:36 AM

    First of all, Tommie Harris is 26. Second of all, neither he nor Adams can be called cornerstones of that D. I think they’re both great, don’t get me wrong, but the Bears have dominated that side of the ball without them.

    Second of all, even though Pisa Tinoisamoa has been outstanding it is barely a step down when Roach is in there. I think the two of them have about equal playing time at the position for the Bears D. Pisa obviously has experience, but Roach has better pursuit… and is 24.

    Urlacher is actually having one of the best years of his career… not that he hasn’t slowed since he was a rookie but like many players the savy know-how he picks up along the way is at worst an even trade for that extra step of youth. But also, he closes in on plays better now because of how he understands the NFL and plays being run, not because he is actually faster. And after taking nearly all of 2009 off he is healthy and probably good to go for at least a few more years.

    Finally, I know its hard to tell the difference when you yourself are over 40, but 29 is not really too old to play. The average age or career length of players in the NFL is just that: an average. Elite players who keep themselves in decent shape and are lucky enough to avoid major injuries can play well into their 30s, even on D….

  6. rockinron2 says: Jan 20, 2011 10:58 AM

    Hey Gregg, you want to write an article on Pitts window closing too, since they have as many “old” players on D plus a D coordinator who is getting up their in age? No? Just like to do these types of stories on the Bears then. Typical.

  7. catman72 says: Jan 20, 2011 10:58 AM

    Look at the stats for what happens to defensive players when they cross 30… it isn’t pretty, they decline sharply.

    The Bears have pushed all their chips to the center of the table this year, it’s all or nothing because either way they will need to begin rebuilding soon.

  8. momsasaynt says: Jan 20, 2011 11:22 AM

    The window is definitely closing. Teams don’t have the same chances year after year anymore especially in the NFC. With that said GO BEARS.

  9. purpleguy says: Jan 20, 2011 12:16 PM

    Combined with the fact that they haven’t drafted all that great, and gave up all the picks for Cutler, it’s not like there is a wealth of young talent waiting in the wings to help either.

  10. yamchargers says: Jan 20, 2011 12:44 PM

    To the Bears supporter who compared to the Steelers:

    The biggest difference is that the Steelers have a bonafide QB (yes I know he is a poorly behaved hick) and the Bears have an up and down turnover machine playing QB. Dominant defences are great but QB is still the most important position.

  11. SpartaChris says: Jan 20, 2011 12:56 PM

    I’m a Packer fan, and I don’t believe the window is closing this year at all. They have a lot of great talent on that side of the ball, and with new innovations in medicine and training, players seem to be able to compete at a higher level for a lot longer. Look at Ray Lewis, Ed Reed or even Charles Woodson- All are older guys, and all of them are still getting it done. I’m sure you could look around the league and find many more examples.

    I also don’t believe the Bears are “All in” this year, like someone else suggested. They have a great core nucleus of talent to draft and develop around, and they have all 7 draft picks this year. 2010 was the last year of forfeited draft picks for the Cutler trade, so they have choices.

  12. beerndonuts says: Jan 20, 2011 1:03 PM

    This isn’t their last chance based on the info above, but it might be their best chance.

    However, now that the Bears don’t have to rely on Devin Hester as a WR, they’ve shown some life on offense, both with the run and pass. If they can keep Martz’s ego in check (enough so he remains effective, but not so much that he doesn’t continue to ‘arrogant’ his way out of HC opportunities) they can lose a bit on the defensive side without much of a worry.

    The real problem may be that Green Bay is positioned to be competitive for the next few years. Detroit is no longer an automatic win, and Minnesota will remain somewhat competitive if they can bring in a semi-competent QB.

    For the Bears, remaining as good as they were in 2010 may not be enough in 2011 and 2012. They’ll likely have to be better.

  13. jwmb says: Jan 20, 2011 1:15 PM

    The good news for Bear fans is that they’ve somehow lucked into a decent collection of young offensive skill players. Angelo is much better at finding/drafting guys on defense than on offense, and should be able to focus on that side of the ball.

    Urlacher, Briggs and Peppers are all special players, but I don’t doubt Jerry can find replacements for guys like Pisa / Adams / Idonije etc.

  14. deweyaxewound says: Jan 20, 2011 1:35 PM

    I just don’t think it’s as simple as “window open, window closing, window closed…”

    Didn’t we hear all last year how the Vikings had “so many pieces in place and they will compete for YEARS to come…” and then POOF!, next year, right back down to earth.

    Injuries–or the lack thereof–can throw open or slam shut that window just as fast as age can.

    As can scheduling, draft success (or failure), coaching and schematics, etc. etc.

    Yes, the Bears had some lucky breaks this year, but luck breeds success and vice versa.

    The thing about the Bears is–they are by definition a “good TEAM”, they are BETTER and MORE than just the sum of their parts.

    Will they be worse if they lose a few of those key parts (Urlacher, Briggs)? Abso-funking-lutely.

    But, that’s why all the superficial analysis (QB edge–GB, WR edge–GB, Offensive edge–GB, Defensive edge–push, etc. etc.) simply doesn’t mean pig droppings…it’s about the TEAM play as a whole, starting with the front office and atmosphere, the lockerroom and team development as a cohesive unit, it’s attitude, motivation, schemes, etc.

    The individual players help–but 1-2 players rarely make a truly great team; it takes more than that.

  15. philtration says: Jan 20, 2011 1:36 PM

    rockinron2 says: Jan 20, 2011 10:58 AM

    Hey Gregg, you want to write an article on Pitts window closing too, since they have as many “old” players on D plus a D coordinator who is getting up their in age? No? Just like to do these types of stories on the Bears then. Typical.
    =====================================

    The Redskins are the only team older than the Steelers.
    Not only does he gloss over that fact about the Steelers… he pretends that the Ravens D is young too.
    Lets see… Redding 30, Reed 32, Suggs 28, Lewis 35, Gregg 34.
    Not to mention that they must have the oldest receiving core in the NFL.
    Is the window closing for the Ravens too?
    How about the Packers having the oldest pair of CBs in the NFL?
    Donald Driver getting any younger next year?
    Barnett is 29 going on 39. Poppinga is 31. Tauscher is 33. Pickett is 31. Clifton is 34.

    Yep… Lance Briggs is old at 30 but James Harrison is not at 32.
    Typical PFT mud slinging.

    Average age of the 10 playoff teams as of July 2010.

    Steelers…..26.8
    Ravens……26.7
    Patriots…..26.6
    Saints……..26.3
    Seahawks..26.2
    Packers…..25.9
    Bears………25.8
    Chiefs……..25.7
    Eagles……..25.2
    Colts……….25.1

  16. SpartaChris says: Jan 20, 2011 1:55 PM

    Regarding the Bears and the luck factor- I think everyone will agree the Bears *have* been lucky this year. But they’ve also been prepared.

    Luck is what happens when hard work and preparation meets opportunity. The hard work and preparation the Bears put in allowed them to capitalize on the opportunity when it presented itself. Yes, sometimes there is just blind, dumb luck, and that certainly plays a role. Things like the Calvin Johnson rule, or James Jones fumble that just didn’t seem to find a way out of bounds are examples of plain dumb luck that helped.

    But the Bears still managed to put up a lead, allowing them to capitalize on the luck of the Calvin Johnson call and they still managed to recover the James Jones fumble.

    Preparation met opportunity in both instances. That’s the way luck goes.

  17. bigbear12 says: Jan 20, 2011 2:51 PM

    Took you guys long enough to start bashing the Bears again, surprised you managed a few days without bashing them.

  18. lrt79 says: Jan 20, 2011 4:42 PM

    Every winning team gets a few lucky breaks throughout the season.

    Does anyone actually remember the Patriots Super Bowl runs? They had so many lucky breaks, a joke was born that Belichick and Brady sold their freaking souls.

    Do we hear about that now, though? Or do we hear about dynasty and this awesome team?

    Luck happens. It’s what you do with it that counts, and the Bears have turned luck into wins.

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