Despite taunt, Brian Urlacher a fan of
New Orleans Saints' Reggie Bush
Bears' Urlacher praises Saints' 'dynamic' talentBy Vaughn McClure |Tribune reporter10:37 PM CST, December 10, 2008
Bears fans figure Brian Urlacher has every right to pummel Reggie Bush on Thursday night after what happened the last time Bush visited Soldier Field.
During the 2006 NFC championship game, the Saints running back ticked off all of Chicago when he pointed at Urlacher before doing a flip into the end zone to celebrate an 88-yard touchdown reception off a screen pass.
Urlacher certainly remembers—the final score, that is.
"I think we won that game, right? Honestly, to me, that other stuff was so blown out of proportion," Urlacher said. "I don't think Reggie directed that toward me.
"I don't even think about it until somebody brings it up. He was excited about his play and turned around and pointed, I guess. And I was the guy right there. He's lucky I didn't catch him. If I was running at full speed, I would have."
Urlacher used the words "respectable" and "well-spoken" to describe Bush, referring to their off-season encounters at various celebrity events. He has equally as much respect for Bush, the player.
"He's one of the most explosive players in the NFL," Urlacher said. "Any time he's in the game, it changes the way you have to approach their offense because he's so dynamic."
Defensive end Adewale Ogunleye recalled the Bush taunt but didn't make a big deal about it, either.
"I haven't talked to him about it since then," he said. "I said what I had to say that day, got over it. We won the game and, hopefully, he has learned his lesson."
Bush returned to the lineup Nov. 30 after missing five games with a knee injury. The Saints still racked up yards without him and enter Thursday night's game with the league's top-rated offense.
The addition of Bush, however, simply gives quarterback Drew Brees another weapon.
"Brees is the MVP of the league right now, in my mind," Urlacher said. "He has had a great season. He makes everything go for them.
"Obviously, when they run the ball, he's even better. But he's just a great quarterback, period."
Coach Lovie Smith said earlier in the week that the Saints get off the bus passing the ball, not running it. Regardless, Urlacher said the emphasis remains on stopping the run. Bush and Illinois product Pierre Thomas give the Saints a solid one-two punch. And veteran Deuce McAllister is always available for short-yardage situations.
"No, we can't focus on stopping the pass because we tried that against Green Bay, and they [ran all over] us," Urlacher said. "They handed it off every time they saw Cover-2. And they gashed us.
"[New Orleans] is not going to throw it every single down. So we have to stop them when they try to run it, put them in some second-and-long, third-and-long situations where we have a chance to get some pressure on them."
New Orleans ran for a season-best 184 yards Sunday against Atlanta. Last season against the Bears, Thomas made his first career start with Bush sidelined with a knee injury and ran for 105 yards. He also caught 12 passes for 121 yards.
"But he didn't hurt us that badly because we still won the game (33-25)," Urlacher said. "I'm not saying he's not a good running back. He catches the ball well. He runs it well. But we've been pretty sound against the run all season.
"We'll just get in our gaps and get up the field like we've done all season … and, hopefully, tackle better than we have the last couple of games."