(MCT) — Brian Urlacher has plenty of respect for Houston Texans running back Arian Foster. But the Chicago Bears linebacker stopped short of labeling Foster the league’s top back.
"He one of the best in the NFL, probably in the top three," Urlacher said. "Matt Forte is No. 1. And then Foster and Adrian (Peterson) are probably fighting it out for No. 2."
Foster enters Sunday night’s game against the Bears first in the league in scoring (11 touchdowns), fifth in rushing (770 yards), and sixth in yards from scrimmage (847).
"He’s a downhill guy," Urlacher said of Foster. "He’s one cut and downhill, which is dangerous because those guys that get downhill in a hurry can crease your defense really fast."
Urlacher reiterated how stopping the run is the primary goal every week, and the Bears boast the league’s sixth-best run defense, allowing just 88 rushing yards per game. However, the Texans have plenty of weapons outside of Foster.
One of them is veteran receiver Andre Johnson.
"I think he’s a Hall-of-Fame receiver," Urlacher said of Johnson. "He’s had a great career and he’s not done yet. That’s another big challenge with him.
"Their quarterback (Matt Schaub) doesn’t turn the ball over. They take care of the football. They don’t get sacked. They just don’t put themselves in bad situations."
Urlacher is well aware of how much success Schaub has had with bootleg plays and how often the quarterback uses them. In last week’s 21-9 win over Buffalo, Schaub perfectly executed a bootleg on a 39-yard touchdown pass to tight end Owen Daniels. Having a threat like Foster in the backfield allows Schaub the ability to carry out flawless play fakes.
And speaking of Daniels, he could pose a different type of challenge to the Bears’ linebackers as a true pass-catching threat over the middle, provided the Naperville Central grad is not limited by a hip injury. Daniels leads the Texans with five touchdown receptions.
"Seems like every week, everyone keeps saying I’m going to match up against the tight end, but it doesn’t happen," Urlacher said. "It depends on how much Cover-2 will play and how much they want to try and work the middle of the field. No one has really done it yet. I don’t know why.
"But no matter what, this is a big challenge for us. They’ve got really good personnel. They have a good quarterback. They have a really good scheme as well. Coach (Gary) Kubiak does a really good job with that system. We’ll have our hands full."