Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 12/12/12
Every year a football team loses a valuable player/leader during the regular season. This has happened to the Bears two years in a row. In 2011, the Bears lost their starting quarterback, Jay Cutler, to a season ending injury. This season, the Bears have lost their starting middle linebacker, Brian Urlacher, possibly for the reminder of the regular season. Neither Jay Cutler or Brian Urlacher can be replaced. They are both extremely talented and smart football players. Losing Urlacher will be a heavy blow but the blow can be crippled, at least until the playoffs. Urlacher has been the face of the Chicago Bears franchise and without a doubt, the leader for over a decade. However, it's time to pass the torch down to the future leader and future face of the franchise.There is nothing the coaches and assistants can say or do to help the team than what they have done already. The only way the team can subdue the loss of Urlacher is to rally around someone. Someone who knows what to say and when to say it. Someone who is not going to give up. The Chicago Bears need a new leader that the team can follow, a leader that team can rally around, and a leader that signals a new era has begun. When I first read about Brian Urlacher possibly being down for the rest of the regular season, I didn't think the season was over or that the Bears could not win without Urlacher. I thought about the one player the Bears cannot afford to lose. I thought about the Chicago Bears' starting quarterback. I thought about Jay Cutler.I asked a few friends and fellow Bears fans who they thought was the leader for the Chicago Bears. There were many who said Urlacher or Cutler. The majority said that they didn't know. At the time and I guess deep down, I didn't know either.Jay Cutler hasn't had a good enough offensive line to really shine. Brian Urlacher has had many good players around him from defensive tackles, defensive ends, cornerbacks, and even linebackers. In fact, the case could be made that Urlacher has been playing on a defense that has three future hall of famers. To be honest, I can name only two good players on offense that have helped Cutler. None have the body of work to even be consider hall of fame worthy.That's when it finally hit me. Before this season started, I wasn't thinking about how far the defense was going to carry the team. This season was never going to come down to how well the defense would play. This season was always going to come down to how far can Cutler carry his team. Now, it's time for Jay Cutler to lead his team and be the leader the team needs him to be. Only Cutler can fill the void Urlacher has left. What better time than now for Cutler to lead his team against their biggest division rivals- the Green Bay Packers. Let the new era begin. Follow me on Twitter, ErikGrogan @ErikGrogan for the latest information on the NFL for anything. Trades, Free agency, or players getting cut.
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