Brian Urlacher expects normal camp

Updated: June 16, 2011, 2:44 PM ET
By Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher expects head coach Lovie Smith to conduct a normal training camp once the NFL lockout ends and football related activities are allowed to resume.

"We have a great camp schedule and there is no reason for us to change it, I don't think," Urlacher said Thursday on "The Waddle and Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "We're a veteran team, and I believe we'll [report] in shape. Guys will be ready to go, knowing what to do.

"So I don't think much is going to change for us. We'll come in the first couple of days, ease into it, then get going with the pads every day after that. We do start earlier than everybody else because of the Hall of Fame Game, but I don't see much changing for us training camp wise."

The Bears are scheduled to report to training camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. on Friday, July 22, with the first practice tentatively set for the following day on July 23. Because of the lockout, the team was forced to cancel the offseason workout program, rookie minicamp, veteran minicamp, and the majority of OTAs which are supposed to wrap up on Thursday, June 24.

With NFL facilities off-limits, Bears defensive players like Urlacher have spent the offseason working out on their own, but quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Caleb Hanie began throwing to skill position players roughly a month ago. Urlacher, currently in the Chicago area, has received positive feedback from various teammates about the offensive workouts.

"They are doing quite a bit right now from talking to a couple of them," Urlacher said. "They're throwing two or three days a week ... running routes, etc. Luckily, we don't have a new system going in on offense or defense like some of the teams with new coordinators or new coaches. They can't work on stuff and I would think they'll be behind quite a bit when we do get rolling. For us, we've been in our system defensively for seven or eight years now, offensively it's been at least a year."

Urlacher feels Cutler's involvement in the unofficial offseason workouts will enhance the quarterback's chances of having a better 2011 campaign.

"No doubt [Cutler will be better in Year 2 in Mike Martz's system]," Urlacher said. "I mean he played well for us last year. Being in the system another year, knowing the routes ... I mean, I don't know the routes, I'm glad he does. Just knowing what's going on is going to help him a little more.

"But he did great for us last year."

Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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