Thursday Notes

Quarterback Chris Chandler, who will start on Sunday if he's healthy, did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday. <P> But he hopes to do dome work by Friday.

"It feels better," Chandler said of his sprained right shoulder. "It's just a matter of getting the stiffness out of there, and hopefully it will loosen up today."

Coach Dick Jauron said he wouldn't feel comfortable starting Chandler unless he had at least one day of practice. But both player and coach agree that it won't take a great deal of practice for the 38-year-old Chandler to be ready to face the Cardinals.

"By this stage of season, you're in a groove," Chandler said. "I get a lot of mental reps. I'm not worrying about practice. That's probably the least of my worries."

Jauron doesn't expect to make a decision on who starts until after Friday's practice at the earliest.

Kordell Stewart took almost all of the first-team reps on Wednesday with rookie Rex Grossman getting a couple.

"I'm working right now until Chris gets healthy, so we'll just have to wait and see," Stewart said. "I just have to continuously prepare the way I've been doing in the past."

Chandler said this is his first shoulder injury in a long time.

"In college, I had a slight separation kind," Chandler said. "I was little younger then. But it feels better, it's getting better, and I'm anticipating it continuing."

Growing up in a hurry
--Rookie cornerback Charles "Peanut" Tillman is playing like a veteran, but he hasn't ceased his quest for knowledge.

"I ask questions all the time," the second-round pick from Louisiana-Lafayette said. "I learn something new everyday. The only dumb question is the one you don't ask." Tillman has 3 interceptions and a sack in the past five games. After eight starts in the secondary, he's staring to get recognized around town.

"A little bit," he said. "Slowly but surely. But I'm just Peanut; I don't like all the special attention, special treatment. I'm just a rookie out here trying to fit in."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "They aren't rookies anymore as far as I'm concerned. They make big plays every week. They're stepping up there just like everyone else does. They're both playing their tails off and making big plays like I said. I thought Briggs would be rookie of the year. I think it's Tillman now. Tillman, every week he makes big plays, pass break-ups." -- Bears MLB Brian Urlacher on rookie CB Charles Tillman and rookie LB Lance Briggs, both starters.

BY THE NUMBERS: The Bears have been outscored 56-12 in the first quarter this season.

--In total yards allowed, the Bears have improved from 28th to 16th. They've jumped from 32nd to 16th in first downs allowed and 32nd to 19th in points allowed.

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