Moore's confidence never wavered

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- While Chicago Bears nickel back D.J. Moore's playing time has taken a hit over the past four games, his confidence has not.

Moore's belief in his abilities has not wavered in light of the coaching staff's decision to keep him inactive two of the past three weeks. That's good news for the Bears since Moore is expected to be active Sunday in Minnesota to handle nickel duties with Kelvin Hayden sliding outside to replace the injured Tim Jennings (shoulder) at cornerback in the team's base defense.

Moore lost his starting nickel job to Hayden in the middle of the season, despite intercepting 10 passes over the past two-plus seasons, and recording two picks in the month of October.

"The whole situation is kind of funny to me," Moore said. "I never took it as another guy is better than me, that's never the case. I just want to go out there and do what I can do.

"I just know I'm good enough to play so I look forward to showing that when I get on the field."

Bears coach Lovie Smith said Thursday that Moore handled the demotion like a professional.

"If your play isn't exactly what we think it should be then you open the door for someone else to get an opportunity," Smith said. "Most of the time you get another chance, so what you have to do is make plays, simple as that. It's all based on performance on the football field. D.J. is a pro. When he did take a step back he did everything he could behind the scenes to help this team. He's a good player and hopefully he gets another shot."

The Bears are hoping that Moore and Hayden's experience can help the team deal with the loss of Jennings, for at least one week. Although Jennings has not officially been ruled out, he missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday after suffering a right shoulder injury in overtime last week against the Seattle Seahawks. However, the injury is not believed to be season-ending and Jennings is technically classified as week-to-week.

For Hayden, it would be his 48th career start at cornerback in his eight-year NFL career. He also received substantial playing time at cornerback two weeks ago against the Vikings when Charles Tillman left the game early due to an ankle injury.

"I prepare the same way as I usually do," Hayden said. "I prepare as a starter. It's just that this week, I'm assuming I will be. I prepare I'm like a starter any other week. In this game, you just don't know what's going to happen. If a guy goes down on the second play of the game, you want to be prepared and ready to go. That's my whole job is just to be ready when my number is called. I'm going to try to continue to do the same.”

The Bears have also been pleased with the performance of cornerback Zack Bowman since he re-signed with the club on Oct. 16. Bowman entered the game as a nickel cornerback when Jennings got hurt late in the Seattle game, and could be in the game plan to see a little action on Sunday. Bowman spent the offseason and training camp with the Vikings, and is quite familiar with their schemes and personnel.