Stewart gets the nod

Kordell Stewart will get a second chance to make a first impression on the Cardinals, a team he nearly signed with in the offseason before inking a two-year deal with the Bears. Stewart will start Sunday in place of the injured Chris Chandler.

Although Stewart's time in Chicago has been rocky at best Dick Jauron believes he'll see a different quarterback than the one that went 1-4 to start the season.

"I think he's got a lot more confidence," Jauron said Friday. "He's fully healthy again and he can manipulate out there, which he does very well; you know, gets himself out of trouble."

Chandler's right shoulder kept him out of practice Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, he was limited to a few short tosses, so Jauron made the change.

"I threw it real light today," Chandler said. "Just today at least I got a little throwing motion going."

Chris Chandler suffered the injury early in the second quarter against Denver and afterward directed two drives to field goals with four completions and a 45-yard pass interference penalty on a 60-yard pass downfield to Marty Booker. The shoulder tightened up and forced him to leave at halftime.

Chandler said the shoulder bothered him enough Friday that he would have been unable to play if it had been game day.

There's more involved with it than tightness in the shoulder.

"It's tight but there's the same little catch that I had when I threw the deep ball to Marty in the shoulder, still," he said.

While Stewart's number were less than stellar, completing 7-15 passes for 47 yards, he did enough to lead two scoring drives and a 19-10 come from behind victory over Denver.

When he entered the game to start the second half Chicago trailed 10-9; he directed a 15-play touchdown drive that consumed 8:38 of the clock. Then the Bears went on another drive in the fourth quarter to the winning field goal.

The spark Stewart presented has given the quarterback new life according to Jauron.

"We got the ball in the end zone," Jauron said. "That 15-play, 8 1/2-minute drive to take the lead for good was a huge part of the football game for us. And he directed that thing, which was tremendous."

As a passer Kordell Stewart leaves much to do be desired. He is 82-of-159 passing for 792 yards and averages only 4.98 yards per pass attempt. His passer rating is 55.9; the lowest in the NFL for starting quarterbacks with at least 150 attempts.

Still the 9-year veteran has remained positive despite being blamed for the Bears slow start.

"I've succeeded in this league," Stewart said. "I have an idea of what it takes to win and, granted, you may not have the best number stats in the world, but I don't think stats are what allow you to win games, because I remember one guy named Trent Dilfer who everybody dogged for a long time and he was a man who took that team to the Super Bowl."

Despite playing in only five and a 1/2 games, Stewart's 240 rushing yards is third for quarterbacks behind Donovan McNabb (293) and Daunte Culpepper (273).

"With Kordell (defenses) expect him to come out of there with the ball, so they have to play it a lot more honestly, as we would against a mobile quarterback," Jauron said.

Stewart may not have the luxury of starting behind the entire first-string offensive line. Right guard Chris Villarrial was downgraded to questionable with an unspecified injury to his side. However, Jauron expressed optimism Villarrial would play because he was able to practice Friday.

Also, strong safety Mike Green will miss his third start due to a groin strain that has been bothering him for five weeks. Reserve tight end Robert Johnson has been ruled out due to a foot injury sustained in practice this week.


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