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Moore happy to get chance with first team
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 8/31/2010 12:01 AM

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Against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday, cornerback D.J. Moore was at nickel back with the Bears' first team, which is where he belongs - at least in his own mind.

Last year as a fourth-round pick out of Vanderbilt, Moore was barely on the radar - or the field. He played very briefly in three games. And he was far from a lock to even make the final roster when training camp began a month ago.

"He's a guy that was on the outside looking in, early on," coach Lovie Smith said. "He's done enough that we started him.

"I like some of the things he's done. He has good hands, good quickness, and he has played the run fairly well. I like some of the things Corey Graham has done at the nickel position, too. They'll keep battling to see who's the guy."

Either way, Moore is a lot happier being involved than he was last year as a spectator.

"I enjoy it a lot more," he said. "Last year it was hard. I guess I got my redshirt year out of the way. I enjoy just being out there trying to help the team.

"Last year it was just me and my attitude. I was good enough to play, but I just didn't play.

"It was real tough. You know you can do it, you're thinking, 'Yeah, I should be out there.' This year I'm just positive. Put me on the field and I'll do anything."

Air of confidence: Tight end Desmond Clark doesn't believe the Bears lack for confidence because of an 0-3 preseason record.

"Just because you're not doing as well as you can, you don't lose confidence," he said. "If we had a bunch of guys like that in here, then we don't have the right guys.

"We're not going to lose confidence in what we're doing. Once the season starts we'll be able to start over at 0-0 and go from there."

Clark characterized the majority of the Bears' mistakes in Saturday's loss as mental errors, but he wasn't pointing any fingers.

"I had a bunch of them," he said. "I made some easy, simple mistakes, stuff that we can't tolerate and we can't accept if we want to be a good team. But we'll be able to focus in and get things right."

Running back Chester Taylor, who broke a nifty 34-yard run, believes there is enough time to make the necessary corrections.

"We're professionals," Taylor said. "We know what to do. It's our job, it's our living, so we have to get it done. Ain't no other choice."

Injury update: Linebacker Brian Urlacher practiced Monday for the first time since suffering a strained calf in the second preseason game.

Wide receiver Earl Bennett (hamstring) and safety Josh Bullocks (quadriceps), who have not taken a snap in a preseason game, also returned to the practice field.

So did quarterback Caleb Hanie, who has been out since a sprained shoulder sidelined him in the preseason opener. Hanie was able to throw short to intermediate routes to running backs during the portion of practice the media is allowed to watch.

Linebackers Lance Briggs (ankle) and Nick Roach (knee) did not practice, nor did safety Craig Steltz (ankle) or fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou (knee). None of them will play Thursday.

Thinning the ranks: The Bears released quarterback Matt Gutierrez on Monday, less than two weeks after signing him as insurance after backup Caleb Hanie suffered a sprained shoulder in the first preseason game.

Gutierrez signed on Aug. 18 but did not play in the preseason. He became expendable once the Bears agreed to terms with veteran quarterback Todd Collins on Aug. 23.

Former Northwestern wide receiver Zeke Markshausen and defensive lineman Maurice Evans also were waived Monday, leaving the roster at 76, one over the limit they must reach by noon Tuesday.