Linebacker Iwuh ready to start if Briggs is out

A lot of things you hear at Halas Hall these days have to be

checked out, but Brian Urlacher’s endorsement of teammate Brian

Iwuh sounded like it could stand on its own merit.

”If he’s playing next to me, I trust him,” Urlacher said

Thursday. ”He does a good job. He knows where he’s supposed to

fit. He doesn’t say much. He just goes out there and plays.”

Iwuh, one of the

Bears’ core special-teams players,

could start at weak-side linebacker Sunday against the Seattle

Seahawks in place of Lance Briggs, who missed his second

consecutive day of practice because of an ankle injury he suffered

against the Carolina Panthers last week.

”Lance Briggs’ ankle is a little bit of a concern,” coach

Lovie Smith said. ”Whenever you don’t practice two straight days,

it’s a little bit of a concern. But going off of history, he

normally comes through at the end of the week.”

In other words, Iwuh is ready to go. The 6-foot, 239-pound

Houston native started three games in four seasons with the

Jacksonville Jaguars from 2006 to ’09. He was signed by the

Bears in May after the Jaguars cut

him in April. He overcame an injury early in training camp to beat

out Tim Shaw — who set a team record with 30 special-teams tackles

last year — for a roster spot because he’s considered a better fit

for their defense.

”I always prepare [to start],” Iwuh said. ”If something does

happen, I’ll be ready to go.”

Iwuh is known as a player who can make an impact in small doses.

In a preseason game last year with the Jaguars, Iwuh returned an

errant Donovan McNabb lateral 92 yards for a touchdown. He had five

tackles in place of Briggs against the Arizona Cardinals in the


”You notice him when he’s out there,” Smith said at the


Iwuh has six special-teams tackles this season and also helped

spring Devin Hester for a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown

against the Green Bay Packers. He was on defense for one play

against the Dallas Cowboys and two against the Panthers last


”My No. 1 strength is my instincts,” he said. ”I’ve got good

instincts and anticipation of the play.”

Iwuh said he benefitted from playing for Jack Del Rio, a former

linebacker, at Jacksonville.

”He was a good coach,” Iwuh said. ”He knew what he was

talking about. He put a lot of pressure on the linebackers. He put

emphasis on the linebackers making all the plays. So it was a good

thing playing for him.”

Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said the

Bears would not alter their

defensive game plan without Briggs. ”I don’t even know if we’re

losing him,” Marinelli said.


”All through camp [Iwuh’s] been very solid, real sound,”

Marinelli said. ”He’ll be fine. We believe he’s a heck of