A forgotten man for much of the season, defensive tackle Anthony Adams now has an opportunity to show the Bears they erred by putting him on the inactive list for seven of the first 10 games.
The season is over for Dusty Dvoracek, who started each of the first 12 games at nose tackle but suffered a ruptured biceps Sunday trying to tackle Minnesota's Adrian Peterson while being double-teamed.
Dvoracek had 40 tackles, more than any other Bears lineman, but Adams, a six-year veteran, stepped up with 6 against the Vikings. Rookie tackle Marcus Harrison added 7.
Both will get snaps in Dvoracek's spot, but Harrison is more comfortable playing the three technique tackle in relief of Tommie Harris.
Six-foot-2, 308-pound Matt Toeaina also is expected to be active for the first time this week. He has some experience at nose tackle, having played in the final three games last season.
But most of the slack will have to be picked up by the squatty 6-foot, 307-pound Adams, who started eight games last season and played in 11 before an elbow injury ended his season after 49 tackles.
But this season Adams has been buried on the depth chart and will wind up with less playing time than in any season since being drafted by San Francisco in the second round out of Penn State in 2003.
It hasn't been what he expected after his effort last season.
"It was very shocking," he said of the inactivity. "It just came from out of nowhere. You go from starting to not even dressing, and I was just like, 'What's going on?'
"But at the same time I kept my faith in God and kept God first and kept praying, knowing that something was going to happen to me."
Most of what happened to Adams early in the season was negative.
Prior to last week, his only significant playing time came in the first Detroit game, when Harris was suspended. Adams started the season being inactive on game day for each of the first three weeks.
"I just found out on game day," he said. "I'm walking around and they're like, 'Yeah, this is a big game for us,' and then all of a sudden I just got crushed.
"But that's not the case now, so I'm ready to roll. It's been difficult, but I still have to keep my head up and know that I'm still part of the plan. As hard as it's been, now I'm at the point where they really do need me, and I've got to go out and perform."
Adams sat out Wednesday's practice with a minor foot injury but is expected to be back at practice today and ready for Jacksonville on Sunday, when he will be needed to combat a Jaguars running game that has been disappointing but still is dangerous.
"Anthony has played well every time we've given him an opportunity," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "He filled in very well this past week; he and Marcus Harrison did at the nose position.
"We've kept quite a few defensive linemen on our roster throughout the year, and now we need them all."
With the Bears probably needing a four-game sweep down the stretch to stay in the playoff race, Adams is eager to contribute with the chance to play in the postseason for the first time as a pro.
"These four games are going to be so important, and I'm just willing to give my body and my soul for these four games because in my whole career I haven't even sniffed the playoffs," he said. "And this is Year 6 for me, so time is ticking."