Brian Urlacher “Aaron Rodgers Has A Lot Of Success Against Me”

On Packers QB Aaron Rodgers saying he was his favorite player to play against
“[That is because] he has a lot of success against me, probably. It’s fun playing against him too. Someone told me what he said about the cat and mouse game, but he knows what we’re doing so I have to say some words in there and some different stuff that may trick him a little bit, make him think it’s not real. They know our calls so I have to try to change it up a little bit, but he’s fun to play against too. He’s exciting, he’s a good competitor. I did vote him for the Pro Bowl, too. For real.”

On approaching this week like every other week

“Our practice hasn’t changed. Our practice schedule is the same, which is good because it does feel like a regular week for us. It’s a bigger game, obviously, but it does feel like we watch the same amount of film. We’re very familiar with them so there is not a whole lot of stuff going in, but we’re prepared to play.”

On keeping everyone on the team focused

“I don’t have to say much. We have a pretty veteran team and even our young guys stay pretty line so we don’t have to say much to them. I don’t have to say anything. Our guys go out there, we practice hard, we play hard and we really don’t get overcome with emotions on gameday or anything like that.”

On the difference between this year and 2006

“This has been more fun because I think it is more unexpected. I think that year we were coming off a division championship and people expected us to be good, whereas this year people really didn’t give us much of a chance so it has been more fun in that aspect. I guess that’s about it.”

On Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

“He’s a great quarterback. He runs around well. Against other teams, he’s really run well. I think if you watch our couple games against him we did ok. He throws it to the open receivers, puts the ball on the money pretty much every time. We have to try and make him feel as uncomfortable as we can and [Julius] Peppers has a lot to do with that and he did that both games. He’s playing well and we just have to try to match his level.”

On how much credit for the team’s success he gives to Lovie Smith

“All of it. He told us we were good. Coming into this season, he believed in us. This summer he told us we were going to be good and we’ve been just that. He never doubted us and we appreciate that.”

On if Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith should be considered for Coach of the Year

“I don’t see how he couldn’t be. We were picked to be 5-11, 6-10, last in our division by all the experts. The guys who know what they are talking about picked us to be last so I think he should be.

“When you first get in here you really don’t know what to expect. Everyone talks about the rivalry. I grew up in New Mexico so I didn’t know a lot about it, but when you get here you learn real quick it’s a big deal because they’re so close in proximity and we just don’t like them. It is bigger now than it was because Coach Smith made a big deal about it when he got here and he puts a big emphasis on it every year so it’s bigger now than it was back then.”

On if he is approaching this as one of his last chances to advance this far

“No. I don’t see us getting any worse next year. I think we should get better. You don’t want to say this is your last shot and I’m not saying we should lose. We want to win this game, but I am not in any way thinking this is our last shot. I think we’re a talented football team. We’ll just get better every year.”

On how much the Bears improved offense has helped the defense

“We haven’t been out there that much. The way we’ve ran the football, converted third downs, Jay [Cutler’s] been playing great, our offense has been protecting the football and we’ve been taking it away for the most part. When you’re not on the field it’s easy to play good defense because you’re always resting. We rotate a lot of guys up front too. It’s been to watch what them do what they’ve done on the offensive side of the ball.”

On Packers RB James Starks

“We played against him, I think, the last time we played against them. He was back there also. He’s a big running back, a little change-up from [Brandon] Jackson. We’ll do our best to try to hold him to minimal yards.”

On what makes it so tough to bring Starks down

“Tough, for other teams? We run the football. That’s what we do really well. We get a lot of guys to the football. We haven’t missed a lot of tackles this year, but when we do we have guys running to the football to get him down so we’ll keep doing that.”

On creating turnovers

“That’s all we talk about, taking the ball away, causing fumbles. Peanut (Charles Tillman) is the best at it, I think, in the NFL at getting the ball out. We have a lot of tipped balls this year. I think that is a big deal. We’ve missed some also, but we’ve had a lot of tipped balls. Guys are thinking about taking the ball away, which is always in the back of our minds. When you get the tackle secured, the other guys try to strip the football.”

On Soldier Field’s playing surface

“You’re going to slip. That’s all there is to it. It wasn’t as bad last week as I thought it would be. I think with the time off, they kind of fixed a little bit maybe. You’re going to slip at certain times of the game. That’s just the way it’s going to be. The faster you run the more chance you have of slipping if you are going to come out of a break. It’s muddy and it’s not great footing. I don’t know what else to say.”

On if the field affects running technique

“I don’t know about that. I don’t know about that. I just try to go out there and try to run to the football. If I slip, I slip. I’ll get up and keep running. I think it is a big deal for the DBs and the wideouts. They may have to try to slow down their routes or doing something to get out of their breaks a little bit better.”

On if the field is a disadvantage for the offense or defense

“I would say the DBs because the offense knows where they’re going with the football. They know what routes to run. We go off of what they do so I think them having to adjust to the receivers routes, but at the same time, like I said, the receivers are probably going to slip to if they are going full speed trying to break. It goes both ways.”

On Bears DE Julius Peppers

“Everything. Pass rush, the running game. We thought he was good when he came here. We watched him play in Carolina and then once he got here he was everything we thought he would be and more. I don’t know how many tackles for losses he has, but he’s always in the backfield. He’s getting held if it’s a pass. They don’t call it all the time, but it looks like he gets held every play to me. He’s been awesome. He doesn’t say much. He just goes about his business, does his job. He’s a good teammate and works hard.”

On what Peppers can do to help contain Aaron Rodgers

“Keep him in the pocket. Any time you have that blind side pressure, I think he is kind of a little bit aware of it. The first time we played them, Pep (Peppers) did a good thing, he got held three or four times so that’s a big deal. Their running game, he shuts down that side of the field. If you single-block him, he’s going to make the play.”

On if this game goes beyond the rivalry because of what’s at stake

“It’s the NFC Championship. It’s a big game. The rivalry is a part of it, but I think it does go beyond that because whoever wins this game goes to the Super Bowl. It’s bigger than that. Our fans our really excited about it. We are too, but once again, it’s the NFC Championship. It’s a big game for us to try to get back to where we need to be.”

On how his play was this year coming off an injury

“Personally, I was fresh. I had a lot of time off to get my body right. I think I got better as the season went on, trying to work myself back into it through training camp and the first couple games. Then just getting situated back on the field again, playing football again. There are still things I want to do better, but for the most part I think I got better as the season went on. I didn’t get run down like I thought I would maybe.”

On the recent play of Bears DT Tommie Harris

“It’s great. When Tommie is Tommie, he’s good. He’s really good. He played great last week. I think the last couple of games coming into the playoffs he was playing well too. I think if we can get him playing to his level he’s like Pep (Julius Peppers). You have to double team him or he’s going to get a sack on you. It’s good to have him back.”

On if the element of surprise is gone when facing a team for the third time in a season

“I would think so. There is not a whole lot that we can do or they can do, I think, to surprise you. I think the offenses may have a little bit more advantages because they know what we are doing on defense. The 3-4, maybe they can change up more, but for us as a defense, we’re predictable supposedly so we don’t do a whole lot different.”

On if he has any reaction President Obama predicting the Bears will win

“I hope we beat them so we don’t let him down. I hope he goes to Dallas so he can watch us if we make it.”

On the same referee officiating Sunday’s game as the one who called 18 penalties on the Packers against the Bears and if that could help Julius Pepper draw holding calls

“I don’t it really matters. If they see holding they’ll call it, if they don’t they won’t. Or they see it and don’t want to call it, they won’t. I don’t know how that works. I don’t even know who that guy is to tell you the truth. Is he the guy with the stripes on? Hopefully, if he gets held, they’ll call it. A lot of that stuff is ticky-tacky, but I hope they let us play and let Pep (Julius Peppers) do what he does.”

On Israel Idonije

“He’s had a great season. I think he had eight sacks, tied with Pep (Julius Peppers) for the team lead. He did a great job. We kind of questioned who was going to be our other end besides Pep with Alex (Brown) and Wale (Ogunleye) gone. It was between Izzy (Israel Idonije) and Mark (Anderson) and Izzy kind of took over that job and he’s run with it and had a great season, not only in the pass game, but the run game as well.”

On after being the face of the franchise for so many years, how much the Bears bringing in Jay Cutler and Julius Peppers have relaxed him and helped him enjoy playing football in Chicago

“I’ve always loved playing here. It’s always been fun, but it’s nice when you have other guys fill that role and not everything is pointed at you all the time. We’ve had (Devin) Hester come in. Now Jay is the face of our franchise, I’ll say it, Pep (Julius Peppers) too. They got it. It’s nice to have guys like that that you can kind of lean on.”

On the challenges the Packers present on the goal line when they use NT B.J. Raji

“Just like everybody else, you got to be physical down there, get downhill and try to get in the backfield. The last time we played, they ran that tight end play where he pulled our guy down and scored. It’s like anybody else. Most teams use their offensive lineman now so he’s not much bigger than those guys, I don’t think.”

On if it gives the Bears defense credit that they virtually shut down the Packers offense in both regular season games

“I wouldn’t say shut them down, but we feel good about whoever we play, not just them. We know each other. We know what they are trying to do to us, they know what we are trying to them. Whoever executes better will win the game probably.”