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updated: 12/8/2012 9:27 PM

Bears' Moore getting another opportunity

Moore doesn't know why he lost his job, but he's happy to be back against Vikings

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  • Chicago Bears cornerback D.J. Moore laughs as the referee signals interception late in the game at Soldier Field Monday night.

       Chicago Bears cornerback D.J. Moore laughs as the referee signals interception late in the game at Soldier Field Monday night.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Chicago Bears cornerback D.J. Moore intercepts a pass deep in Detroit territory late in the game at Soldier Field Monday night.

       Chicago Bears cornerback D.J. Moore intercepts a pass deep in Detroit territory late in the game at Soldier Field Monday night.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Chicago Bears defensive back D.J. Moore Thursday night in the first preseason game at Soldier Field in Chicago.

      Chicago Bears defensive back D.J. Moore Thursday night in the first preseason game at Soldier Field in Chicago.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 

D.J. Moore will get a second chance Sunday to prove he's the Bears' best option at nickel cornerback.

But a lot of people, Moore included, don't fully understand why he lost the job in the first place.

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Four weeks ago Kelvin Hayden moved past him on the depth chart as the extra defensive back in passing situations.

"There's always room for improvement," Moore said with a shrug. "They could say you're not playing up to your standards or whatnot, stuff like that.

"You never really know sometimes with the way that coaches want you to play or stuff like that. It could be a lot of stuff."

Asked if he would be more motivated this week after being inactive in two of the past four games, Moore displayed his unique and amusing combination of frankness and self-confidence.

"Not really," he said, flashing his ever-present smile. "The whole situation is kind of funny to me. But I never took it as another guy was better than me. That's never the case. So I just want to go out there and do what I can do.

"I know I'm good enough to play. If I was seeing it as I'm not good enough, then I would be upset with it. I think it kind of makes me look better sometimes when you see somebody else play the position and you see me play. It doesn't always look the same."

In the previous two seasons, Moore picked off a total of 8 passes and among the Bears only Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman had as many. Moore had 2 more interceptions in the first six games this season but still lost his job.

One of the alleged reasons was that Hayden, at 6 feet and 195 pounds, presented more of a physical run defender than the 5-9, 180-pound Moore.

"Kelvin is a heck of a man-on-man player, and he's a big hitter, too," defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. "But D.J. brings a lot to the table."

At San Francisco three weeks ago, the first time Moore had been inactive since his rookie season, Hayden was beaten for a 57-yard reception by Kyle Williams, which set up San Francisco's first TD.

But during a stretch that included games against power runners Arian Foster, Frank Gore, Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch, whose teams are all among the league's top seven in rushing yards, Hayden was the choice of the coaching staff.

"It wasn't just, 'Hey we're going to make a change,'" defensive backs coach Jon Hoke said. "It's production, and that's always been the key to how we evaluate guys.

"How productive are they? How good are they at getting take-aways, stopping the run, tackling, everything involved in playing football? It's how productive are (you) as a player."

There also was a school of thought that Moore was being punished for his public criticism of teammate Jay Cutler after the quarterback berated and bumped offensive tackle J'Marcus Webb on the sidelines.

Like a lot of others, Moore said Cutler was wrong. It wasn't the first time Moore had spoken out or declined to fall in step with the company line.

"I feel like, even if I said something, I always have good character," Moore said. "I treat people nice. I'm not out getting drunk or driving my car off the road. I'm just telling the truth. But it's like that sometimes in this profession."

Now, with Hayden in for injured starting cornerback Tim Jennings, Moore is back at nickel.

"These guys have a great opportunity right now, and we have great confidence in them," Marinelli said. "We expect a great performance from (Moore)."

That's the kind of performance Moore always expects from himself.

"I just know I'm good enough to play," he said, "and I look forward to showing that when I get on the field."

Moore still seems uncertain as to why he was taken off the field, but now he has a chance to get back in the game.

"I really don't know," he said. "I have no idea. But we were playing against more running teams. I think it was just one of those situations.

"I didn't understand really the stuff behind it. I just go to practice, do what I do and smile and go home.

"When you're a professional and things happen you just have got to buckle in and do your job."

When Jennings returns, it will be interesting to see what happens with Moore. Until then, he will do what he does, and he won't change.

"During the whole process I've been myself," Moore said. "When I'm out there, I always do something. I'll be making plays."

rlegere@dailyherald.com

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