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Stock Watch: Mundy a stabilizing force

Ryan Mundy was off to the races on the second play of Monday's game, returning an interception 45 yards for a touchdown to give the Bears an early lead. Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

RISING

1. Ryan Mundy, S: A somewhat under-the-radar free-agent signee, Mundy is a powerful tackler, who quietly brought stability to strong safety. Mundy flashed in the opening moments of Monday night's 27-19 win in New York, intercepting Jets quarterback Geno Smith and returning the ball 45 yards for a touchdown. The safety did suffer what he called a "serious stinger" injury at MetLife Stadium, but the hope is Mundy can recover before the Bears host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Mundy is also a standout on special teams, which only enhances his value. A class act in the locker room, Mundy should serve as an example to the younger, more impressionable players. This is how a true professional handles his business both on and off the field.

2. Will Sutton/Ego Ferguson, DTs: Sutton played 55 snaps (74 percent) in his first career NFL start, tallying three tackles and one tackle-for-loss, while Ferguson ended the game with two tackles, one sack, one tackle-for-loss and a quarterback hit in 20 reps at defensive tackle. This is a dream scenario for the Bears. Rookies Sutton (third-round draft choice) and Ferguson (second-round draft choice) provides the defense with quality depth behind veterans Stephen Paea and Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion), but both first-year defensive tackles project to be starters in the future, if not sooner. Sutton and Ferguson complement each other well. Sutton is considered more of a pass rusher, while Ferguson is known for his ability to stop the run. It seems the Bears hit on all three of their early draft choices (Kyle Fuller included), a development that bodes well for an older, but still effective defense.

3. Brian de la Puente, C: Talk about calm under fire. Being forced to start a backup center two consecutive weeks on the road can be a recipe for disaster in the NFL. But de la Puente is smooth as silk. It certainly helps de la Puente started 44 games for the New Orleans Saints from 2011-13 -- playing the first two years under current Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer -- but the fifth-year offensive linemen was still put in a tough spot when respected veteran Roberto Garza suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 1. Remember, de la Puente himself had an abbreviated preseason because of an MCL sprain, but there has been little to no rust, with the exception of one premature snap against the San Francisco 49ers. The Bears are lucky to have de la Puente. The only surprise is that he's playing on a one-year deal, which is likely to change in the coming months.

4. Special teams: Let's give some credit to the much-maligned special teams. The Bears continue to search for answers on kickoff return and are plagued by the occasional penalty, but the coverage units were top-notch in the win against the Jets. Ahmad Dixon looks to be a find. He recovered a key muffed punt in the first half that led to points. Robbie Gould remains one of the best place kickers in the business, and rookie punter Pat O'Donnell is showing steady improvement. And kudos to long snapper Jeremy Cain (one tackle) for navigating his way through a potentially difficult situation. It's never easy to replace a legend (Patrick Mannelly), and remember, Cain didn't have the luxury of spending the preseason with the Bears.

FALLING

1. Matt Forte, RB: Don't consider this a direct indictment of Forte. He remains one of the most versatile tailbacks in the NFL, capable of busting loose from a big game on the ground. But the Bears are a pass-first offense under Marc Trestman. That's just the way it is. Forte carried the ball 13 times for 33 yards against a stingy Jets' defense. In Week 2, Forte gained 21 rushing yards on just 12 attempts. The Bears' rushing attack is trending downwards. But as long as the team keeps winning, who cares?

2. Chris Conte, S: Conte's bounce-back year began with interceptions against Buffalo and San Francisco, but the safety is experiencing bad luck on the health front. After undergoing offseason surgery, followed by a concussion in the third week of the preseason, Conte has been unable to finish the past two games because of a new shoulder problem. Durability is vital to the success of any NFL player. Give Conte credit for pushing through the original shoulder injury in Week 2 and starting Monday night against New York, but health questions persist. At one point in the second half, the Bears' safeties were Danny McCray and rookie Brock Vereen. No offense to McCray and Vereen, but the Bears could be in trouble if they have to lean on that duo for an extended period of time. Conte is the best free safety on the roster. But for whatever reason, he's having trouble staying on the field.