Halas Hall Report: Thursday

Bears LB Brian Urlacher (AP Images)

Halas Hall is a little quieter today than yesterday, but both Brian Urlacher and Cedric Benson talked to the media before practice. Greg Olsen was participating in drills after sitting out Wednesday's session. As usual, BearReport.com has a front-row seat and all the latest from Lake Forest.

Urlacher accepts that Tomlinson will make plays
San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson is the reigning NFL MVP and bar none the best running back in all of football. He scored a ridiculous 31 touchdowns last season, a league record that doesn't even include the two TDs he threw on option passes. The Monsters of the Midway come into every game looking to run the football on offense and stop the run on defense, but shutting down an eventual Hall-of-Famer like Tomlinson may be an impossible task on Sunday.

That being said, Brian Urlacher is going to treat Tomlinson like any other back when it comes to his defense's preparation.

"Same thing every week for us," Urlacher said Thursday at Halas Hall. "Number one, stop the run. It doesn't matter who the running back is. We want to stop the run. He's a little different than most guys because he can do so many things, but you're going to try and tackle him. You try to tackle everyone the same, I think. There's really not much you can do about it if he makes you miss, which he will do. But he is going to make plays. He makes plays in every game he plays in, so when he does make them, we've got to go back to the huddle, regroup, and go on to the next play."

Tomlinson only lost one fumble in 2006 and takes care of the football as well as anyone, but Urlacher isn't shying away from taking some chances in order to force turnovers.

"We go after the ball," he said. "Number one, secure the tackle. Number two, other guys strip. If you can get the ball out, get it out. If not, make sure you get him on the ground."


LB Brian Urlacher (Carlos Osorio/AP Images)

Benson's big day finally arrives after two-year wait
Thomas Jones will be wearing the green and white of the New York Jets in Week 1, which means that Cedric Benson finally makes the first start of his career for the Bears. It's no secret that Jones and Benson did not get along despite their effective one-two punch this past season, and Jones took some shots at Benson in the media during training camp. But Benson has his wish and will be the unquestioned top tailback on Sunday in San Diego, and he's quite looking forward to the opportunity.

Not only is Benson ready to get the regular season underway, but he's anxious to prove that he was worthy of the No. 4 selection in the 2005 NFL Draft.

"Very excited just about the game atmosphere," said Benson. "Getting into the game form and getting into the season and getting things going. You really can't say enough. The season's finally here, and it's a big moment for me. And I've been waiting on it for a while."

So has the city of Chicago seen the best of what Benson has to offer yet?

"No," he said. "Not even. Not even close to it. I haven't seen the best I have to offer yet."


RB Cedric Benson (Jeff Roberson/AP Images)

Injury Report
The only player listed on Chicago's injury report is rookie tight end Greg Olsen, who missed a portion of practice with a knee injury. The Bears' top pick in April's draft sprained his knee in the team's preseason finale, and his status for Sunday's opener is unknown.

After being limited Wednesday, C Cory Withrow (foot) and RB Michael Turner (ankle) participated in all phases of Thursday's practice. WR Eric Parker (toe) and LB Anthony Waters (personal) did not participate. Waters was excused to be with his family following the death of his grandmother in South Carolina.

John Crist is the Editor in Chief of BearReport.com and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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