Paea About to Get More Opportunities

Rookie defensive tackle Stephen Paea's progress came slow but since being activated in Week 6, he's been lights out. As a result, he'll see more time on the playing field going forward.

--Rookie Stephen Paea will get more opportunities to build on his successful play in the past two games after being inactive for the first five games.

"Players always expand their role by taking advantage of the limited reps you get early on," coach Lovie Smith said. "He did that. We like what he did out there rushing the passer and of course playing the run, too. We liked him coming out (of Oregon State). He's doing it by playing good football. Practice wise, he's the same guy, he's eager to learn, and he will start getting more reps."

Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said Paea will play a bigger role in the tackle rotation.


DT Stephen Paea
Dennis Wierzbicki/US Presswire

"He has a lot of quickness, which we knew," Marinelli said. "He's got a great motor, and he's just been very productive. We're very excited about him, and we need to keep him going. He's been coming along each week. You get an opportunity, and then you have to cash in on it, and he did. That's everything in this league."

--SS Major Wright's hip injury is expected to be 100 percent, and with the release of Chris Harris, the 2010 third-round pick is expected to return to the starting lineup and stay there for a long time. His running mate will be rookie FS Chris Conte, also a third-round pick.

"Major is a good tackler, he's a good player," coach Lovie Smith said. "Chris Conte, we moved him into the starting lineup a couple weeks ago, (and we've) been very pleased with what we've gotten from him as a tackler; just a guy in the middle of the field with a lot of range. These aren't veteran players, but they'll get better each rep. We feel like we can play winning football with them."

PLAYER NOTES

--QB Jay Cutler is 23-0 when he has a passer rating of 100.0 or better, including 2-0 this season and 13-0 as a Bear.

--RB Matt Forte has over 150 yards from scrimmage in five of the Bears' seven games this season.

--WR/RS Devin Hester in one of just 10 players in NFL history with over 2,000 receiving yards, punt-return yards and kickoff-return yards and one of just two active players, along with Wes Welker.

--WR Dane Sanzenbacher is the Bears' first undrafted rookie wide receiver with at least three touchdowns since 1983, when Dennis McKinnon had four.

--MLB Brian Urlacher has 21 interceptions since entering the league in 2000. Among linebackers, only Ray Lewis (24) has more.


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