BOURBONNAIS -- The Bears' top three defensive ends -- Julius Peppers, Corey Wootton and Shea McClellin -- are set in stone.
But the battle for the fourth, and possibly final spot, is up for grabs.
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Fifth-year veteran Kyle Moore is in the thick of the fight, and when Peppers and Wootton each recently missed practice time, Moore was able to get some snaps with the first team.
Moore is coming off his most productive season in 2012, when he started seven games for the Buffalo Bills and picked up his first 3 NFL sacks after injuries to Chris Kelsay and Mark Anderson gave him more playing time. But Moore wasn't part of new Bills coach Doug Marrone's plans.
"They just weren't interested enough in keeping me I guess, with the whole new scheme and new coaches, and the old G.M. Buddy Nix retired, and you know how that stuff goes," Moore said. "So I just kind of went with the flow of things. I thought I was going to be back there but ended up being here in Chicago, which is fine with me."
Moore's best chance to make an impact with the Bears is by providing another pass-rush threat, but he said he needs to do more than that.
"Pass rush is the main thing they want to see," the 6-foot-6, 263-pound former fourth-round pick said. "But you have to evolve as an all-around player because guys like Julius Peppers can play the run and pass, Corey Wootton can play the run and pass, Shea McClellin, and all the d-tackles those guys can play inside and outside. The more you can do for this team, obviously that's what they want."
The reason why:
Bears coach Marc Trestman believes it's important to explain to today's players the rationale behind coaching decisions.
"I think every professional player needs to know why we are doing things," the coach said. "We're not going to answer them 'Because that's the way we do it.'
"We're dealing with Generation Why. W-H-Y. We really are. I think a professional player needs to have those answers. So, whether it's Jay (Cutler) and the quarterbacks asking questions, or anybody, we try to give them an explanation that's built on common sense and in the best interest of the team."
J'Marcus Webb spent this week playing left tackle with the second team after starting at right tackle in the preseason opener.
"It did take him a little time to adjust," said Bears offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Aaron Kromer. "But if he's going to be on our team, if he makes our (final) eight (offensive linemen), then he's going to have to play more than one spot, and this is a great opportunity for him to get those reps. You don't want to have to do it on Wednesday of game week. You want to do it early in the season, so he has a feel for what's going on."
Defensive end Julius Peppers and wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who did not play in the preseason opener, are expected to see some action Thursday night at Soldier Field when the Bears host the San Diego Chargers in Game 2 of the preseason.
Wide receiver Joe Anderson, who caught 2 passes for 27 yards last week but suffered a shoulder injury, is also expected to play.
Wide receiver Earl Bennett (concussion), defensive tackle Henry Melton (concussion), offensive tackle Jonathan Scott (knee), linebacker D.J. Williams (calf) and long-snapper Patrick Mannelly (ribs) will not play.