Corey Wootton is the player most affected by the Bears' epidemic of injuries at defensive tackle. Well, that is if you don't count the injured guys.
Wootton has had to take his game inside to tackle from his normal end position to make up for the season-ending knee injuries to Henry Melton and Nate Collins, plus the toe injury that sidelined Stephen Paea last week. At 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds, Wootton is more lanky than stout and therefore is better suited to play outside, where he had a breakout season in 2012 with 7 sacks. But duty calls.
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"It's just a different ballgame inside," said the four-year veteran from Northwestern. "You get a lot more double-teams. Guys are shorter and stouter, (and they're) real good run blockers. Contact happens faster than outside, so it's definitely an adjustment."
The long first steps that defensive ends can use to beat offensive tackles to the outside in pass-rush situations aren't much good in the cramped quarters of the interior line.
"The biggest thing is that you've got to take a shorter, six-inch step and really get your feet in the ground," Wootton said. "If you take too long of a step (guards and centers) are really going to be able to get you off balance. It's definitely an adjustment in there, but I got the hang of it during the (Saints) game."
Still, Wootton has some physical attributes that he can use to his benefit.
"The biggest thing is I try to use my arm length to get the blockers off me and just be able to get off the ball," he said. "I never thought I'd be playing full-time 3-technique (tackle). But injuries happen and I just had to step up where they needed me."
The Manning Factor:
Coach Marc Trestman isn't looking past the 0-5 Giants.
"Their records aren't even an issue," he said. "Records don't mean anything. When I look at the Giants I see players who have been to the top. I see a quarterback who's going to the Hall of Fame, and he's not going away. He's going to be there for 60 minutes."
Giants quarterback Eli Manning has won two Super Bowls, but his 65.8 passer rating is No. 32 in the 32-team NFL, and he has a league-high 12 interceptions to go with 8 TD passes.
"His play over the past few weeks, I haven't even had the time to go through all of it because I know the kind of player he can be," Trestman said. And he could certainly show up very easily on Thursday night. (He) has been there and had his back against the wall and done it. We've all seen it. So that alone is enough to keep our eye on the ball."
With little down time the Bears had two short walk-throughs Tuesday, but if they had a normal practice, cornerback Charles Tillman (knee) and safety Anthony Walters (hamstring) would not have participated.
Tight end Martellus Bennett (knee), offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod (calf), wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (ankle) and defensive tackle Stephen Paea (toe) would have been limited.
Coming and going:
Defensive tackle Christian Tupou was signed to the practice squad Tuesday, and the practice squad contract of defensive end Aston Whiteside was terminated. The 6-foot-2, 290-pound Tupou spent the entire preseason with the Bears and had 4 tackles and 1 sack.