Bears CB Moore wants to do something special
Bears fans like Don Wachter hope Brian Urlacher is right when he says "we have the talent now to reach our expectations. ... I really think we can do it this year."
BOURBONNAIS — Nickel cornerback D.J. Moore led the team with 4 interceptions last season, but he's expanding his role this season to include more special teams.
Special teams coordinator Dave Toub is looking for a gunner on the outside of the coverage teams to replace departed Pro Bowler Corey Graham, and Moore is one of several players getting a look.
"I played it in college," the 5-foot-9, 180-pound Moore said. "I did it in preseason. It's not too hard, but it is a challenging thing. I'm just trying to pick up where Corey left off. He was probably the best at doing it."
Special teams aren't a chore most veterans relish, but the always amusing and always candid Moore puts it in perspective.
"Well, I'm not a superstar," he said. "If I'm a superstar, then (I can say) I hate playing special teams. I'm just trying to pretty much make the team and solidify my spot on the team, so whatever I can do is fine with me."
Considering his 8 interceptions over the past two seasons are tied for tops on the team with Pro Bowl cornerback Charles "Peanut" Tillman, Moore's spot on the roster is pretty secure. But he's not taking anything for granted.
"You never know," he said. "If your name isn't Urlacher, Briggs, Peanut or Peppers, on defense, you're just here until you become one of the guys."
No doubt about it:
A healthy Gabe Carimi at right tackle will go a long way toward creating an improved offensive line and better protection for quarterback Jay Cutler.
Carimi's health doesn't appear in question after the dislocated kneecap that cost him all but 5½ quarters of his rookie season. But he's not quite back to where he was a year ago.
"I'm just a little rusty," the first-round pick from Wisconsin said after the first full-pads practice. "There was some good stuff, though. It didn't hurt while I was in there, and I didn't really think about it. There were a lot of positives for not putting the pads on for 10 months and finally going back out after almost a whole year of not playing. But there's still work to be done."
While the injury may have bee in the back of his mind, Carimi went in with no doubts.
"That would suicidal to have doubt," he said. "I knew it wasn't going to be exactly where I left off. But I don't think I'm that far off the mark where it will be pretty easy to get back."
On the bright side:
You wouldn't expect a 34-year-old, 13-year veteran like Brian Urlacher to buy into a trite concept like "sense of urgency," as in the annually asked: "Is there a greater sense of urgency this year than ever before?"
"There's a sense of urgency every year," Urlacher said. "It's a new team every single year. There are guys gone, guys get cut that you don't expect to get cut or traded, anything like that. So every year is a sense of urgency. It's no different than any other year."
However, even a grizzled veteran like Urlacher believe that this year could be special.
"I think we have the talent now to reach our expectations," he said. "We always say that because it's the right thing to say. But I really think we can do it this year. We're stacked at every position."
A year wiser:
A year ago at this time, Roberto Garza, who had played guard for the previous 10 seasons, had just been moved to center following the surprise release of long-time starter Olin Kreutz. Garza wound up starting all 16 games last season.
"I feel more comfortable in the position (this year)," Garza said. "But I've got a long way to go still."
The final 18 plays of Sunday's practice were allocated to backups while the first- and second-team players knocked off early. Defensive end Thaddeus Gibson, wide receiver Brittan Golden and running back Armando Allen took advantage with impressive plays. ... Wide receiver Devin Hester (ankle) returned to practice after missing a day with a minor ankle injury. ... Recently signed defensive tackle Brian Price is eligible to practice Tuesday. He will wear No. 95. ... Today is an off-day. The Bears are back on the field at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.
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