All four players are in their 30s. Urlacher still is trying to shake off a knee injury and isn't quite wreaking his usual havoc. But so far, the rest of the defense is holding up. And it's not just the core players doing their part.
The Bears are getting big contributions from the defensive line and areas of the secondary that were major question marks.
They lead the league in interceptions (11) and takeaways (14), and their 15 sacks trail only Arizona and Cincinnati with 16 apiece. Cornerback Tim Jennings already has a career-high four interceptions to lead the NFL, not to mention six pass breakups, two of which led to touchdowns for other players.
Then, there's Briggs still going strong with 27 tackles and four pass breakups even though he's in his 10th season and turns 32 next month.
"Best outside linebacker in the NFL. He does it every week," Urlacher said. "He shows up. He makes big plays. He stresses me out sometimes because he moves around so much before the snap, I don't know if he's going to end up in the right spots. But he always does, makes big plays, tackles for losses. He's always there."
He was certainly in the right spot against Dallas, when Melton hit Romo. Then, he showed just how much power he has left in his legs.
"I guess I was just a really old guy, on his last leg," Briggs joked.
Well, not quite. And even if he slows a bit, Marinelli said Briggs has the know-how to remain productive.
"Guys with brightness and understanding will usually play at that same high level (a long time)," Marinelli said.
Notes: The Bears held Peppers out of Thursday's practice because of an ankle injury, while Urlacher (coach's decision) and FB Evan Rodriguez (knee) also sat out. RB Matt Forte (ankle) and WR Earl Bennett (hand) were limited participants.
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