Battle of the week

Strong safety <!--Default NodeId For Mike Green is 741804,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:741804]>Mike Green</A> has several days of practice with a strained groin, giving second-year man <!--Default NodeId For Bobby Gray is 722149,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:722149]>Bobby Gray</A> a chance to display the form that so impressed Bears coaches last season before he suffered a season-ending wrist fracture in Game Three.

"As a rookie Bobby was a player on tape who jumped off at you when you studied him, and those players, they honestly don't come along that often." Coach Dick Jauron said. "A player who goes past his teammates to make a lot of hits, who wants to be in on the play, and that's what Bobby showed. "That's why we wanted him last year and got him in the draft. He did so well for us so early, contributing on (special) teams, understanding our defense. It's just great to have him back. It gives us great comfort. He adds another hitter on our field, whether it's defense in whatever form, the sub package, our base package and all our special teams."

The 6-foot, 212-pound Gray was a fifth-round draft pick out of Louisiana Tech, who made an impact from the start of training camp and was already on the field as a sixth defensive back in passing situations.

"I'm back on the field at last and my wrist is feeling great," Gray said. "No player wants to miss most of his first season. I kept going to meetings, but not being out there with the guys was not the way I had planned things to be. The worst times were when I'd be at Halas Hall just watching as the team bus left without me on the way to a game."

Gray isn't considered a great coverage safety, but he can be almost like another linebacker in his ability to make big hits and provide run support.

"I don't want to make it sound like he's got no coverage skills," Jauron said, "but he's not a safety that covers a wide receiver. You wouldn't want that matchup. We get that (matchup) at times with everybody, but it's not something we'd make a living with."

Green is still considered the starter, but if his injury lingers, that could be all the opportunity Gray needs to step in. His status for the preseason opener is still uncertain.


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