BATTLE OF THE WEEK: WR Justin Gage will be given an opportunity to unseat disappointing David Terrell as the starter, and Gage was off to a fast start before going down with a hamstring pull. In the Bears' first full-pads practice under the lights before several thousand fans Thursday night at the Olivet Nazarene football stadium, he made a diving grab of a Rex Grossman deep sideline pass for a touchdown. Terrell doesn't appear much different than the past three seasons when he failed to live up to his first-round draft status.
With a new coaching staff, few players are guaranteed starting spots. And some starters' jobs are more tenuous than others, none more so than Terrell, the 2001 first-round draft pick whose career numbers wouldn't make an undrafted free agent proud.
"I think everybody has to win a job; David definitely does," coach Lovie Smith said. "He was a top 10 pick, so this is a big year for him. He's worked hard in the off-season. He deserves this chance. We're going to give him a chance. He says he's ready to prove that he can do some of those big things that he did in college."
In three seasons at Michigan, Terrell caught 152 passes for 2,317 yards and 23 TDs, averaging 15.2 yards per catch. In three seasons with the Bears, he has 86 catches for 903 yards and 8 TDs, an average of 10.5 yards per catch.
OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: SS Bobby Gray continues to hit anyone he gets close to in his battle to unseat Mike Green as the starting strong safety. Gray isn't much of a coverage guy, but he plays like an extra linebacker. Green is considered the more cerebral player and the better player in coverage.
ORT Aaron Gibson could force the Bears to move ORT John Tait to the left side if he shows that he can be a plus on the right side. With untested Qasim Mitchell currently at OLT, the Bears might elect to move Tait to that spot anyway, if they are convinced Gibson can build on last season, when he stayed healthy for the first time in his NFL career and started all 16 games.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: DE Joe Tafoya. A fringe player in his four years with the Bears, Tafoya has done everything from special teams to playing DT in nickel and dime packages. An undersized pass-rush specialist, he could be the edge rusher that the Bears need inn the new scheme. Tafoya isn't great at the point of attack, but he is fast, quick and athletic and could be a factor as a nickel pass rusher.