Chicago Bears: D.J. Moore
"I don’t know my exact role but I think it’ll be nickel back to start off with," Moore said. "After that, who knows? I’ll play anywhere they let me. You know me, I take the mentality out there that nobody can do my job better. That’s how you have to play. If I play the entire year at nickel, I hope to have six picks and six sacks. Why not think like that?"
Moore traveled to Charlotte on Tuesday morning to visit the Panthers before he agreed to the deal.
With the Bears plagued by limited salary cap space, both sides will need to be creative to get this deal done. But make no mistake: every defensive veteran on the squad is paying close attention to how the Bears handle the Urlacher situation.
With a massive leadership void on offense, the loss of Urlacher could be a damaging blow to the locker room. But the real issue is whether the Bears still think Urlacher can play at a high enough level to help the defense in 2013. If the answer to that question is "yes," then it would be wise for both sides to find common ground, and do so quickly.
Here's a list of the Bears unrestricted free agents, and their prospects for returning in 2013:
Nick Roach, linebacker: He has generated substantial interest since the NFL's legal-tampering period commenced late Friday evening. Eight have expressed interest in Roach potentially filling their respective voids at either strong side or middle linebacker, and unless the Bears make a late push before the official start of free agency at 3 p.m. CT on Tuesday, Roach is expected to field several concrete offers.
Selected by the Bears in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL draft, Moore became the team’s starting nickel back in his second year and went on to intercept 10 passes over the last three seasons.
Moore began to fall out of favor with the Bears last season after he lost his starting job to Kelvin Hayden midway through the year.
Moore will look to sign with a new team when NFL free agency officially begins on March 12 at 3 p.m. CT.
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."
Although Moore officially received the news from the coaching staff Monday morning, he had an idea all week this move was in the works.
"I was only on one special teams this week and I didn't play last week," Moore said. "So this is more of a running team too."
Moore was active for the Bears' 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans but did not play a single snap. His original rookie contract is set to expire after the season.
"From what (they) told me it was performance related, I guess," Moore said. "Whatever they tell me to do I do, and I go to work every day and fight as hard as I can. Hopefully, I can get back out there soon enough."
Although Jay Cutler sounded less than thrilled about his return to Nashville, telling reporters he simply looked forward to "checking on my house" that's being built, the Bears quarterback is still a big deal to the people in that area.
Cutler left Vanderbilt as the school's all-time leader in total offense (9,953 yards), touchdown passes (59), passing yards (8,697) and combined touchdowns while being the first Commodore to be named SEC Offensive Player of the Year since 1967.
Wide receiver Earl Bennett also left behind quite the legacy as he finished his three-year career at Vanderbilt as the SEC's all-time leader in receptions with 236 and a three-time All-Conference selection.
But Bears nickel back D.J. Moore isn't impressed.
Hayden started 47 regular-season and five postseason games at cornerback since he entered the league in 2005.
"I really didn't ask questions behind it," Hayden said. "I knew I was going to get a little more reps but they didn't say how many. I think I played pretty well. I was on the details. I had one little catch on me that I could have done a better job on but I think everything was good."
Although Hayden played significant snaps in the 13-7 victory, the Bears' normal starting nickel back, D.J. Moore, still saw the field, but primarily on third downs.
"It was a personnel thing,” Moore said. “They didn't want Calvin Johnson to slam me and then run a slant route and be running in the end zone. So it was just one of those things."
Despite limited playing time, Moore did record his second interception of the year when he picked off Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford late in the fourth quarter. The two share a history as Moore and Stafford got into a fight on the field last year at Solider Field which resulted in both players getting fined and Moore being ejected from the Bears win.
Moore said he did not speak to Stafford before or after the game to iron out their differences.
"Nah, but we never talked before," Moore said. "As long as I keep playing him, my career interceptions will keep going up."
Moore now has 10 interceptions over the last two-plus seasons. The former fourth-round pick out of Vanderbilt is in the final year of his original rookie contract and is scheduled to reach free agency next offseason.
Following an interception, Stafford grabbed Bears nickel back D.J. Moore by the back of the helmet and slammed him to the turf during Chicago's 37-13 victory. Moore got up and retaliated as both teams rushed to the scene. Moore got ejected and was fined $15,000, while Stafford got hit with a $7,500 fine.
Stafford said he won't be thinking about the incident when he and the Lions return to Soldier Field to face the Bears on Monday Night Football.
And the forecast Sunday for Jacksonville, Fla. is 85.
With the Cowboys Stadium roof opened, the announced temperature at kickoff of 80 degrees with 28 percent humidity caused problems for multiple Bears players throughout the course of their 34-18 victory. The list of casualties included nickel back D.J. Moore who at times got replaced by veteran Kelvin Hayden.
On Tuesday, Bears nickel back D.J. Moore said Cutler was wrong for yelling at Webb, but he doesn't expect the quarterback to apologize because "he's always been that way."
That may be true, but does Cutler owe his embattled left tackle an apology for the outburst seen on national television? Our panel weighs in on that and more:
Fact or Fiction: Cutler should apologize to Webb and the offensive line for his outburst during the loss to the Packers.
Jeff Dickerson: Fiction. Cutler needs to apologize to the team for being unable to beat the Packers (1-6) or for failing to protect the football in many critical games, but the outburst on Webb doesn't warrant a public apology. Would it be nice if Cutler pulled Webb aside privately and discussed the matter? Of course. But Cutler really doesn't seem like that type of person, so my advice to Webb is simple: Clean up your technique and stop surrendering so many sacks. The only way to keep the quarterback off your back to keep him off his.
Michael C. Wright: Fiction. These aren’t toddlers. These are men playing a man’s sport. So while an apology from Cutler might go a long way, I wouldn’t say it’s really a necessity. The guys on the offensive line probably on some level feel they deserved a kick in the pants from the quarterback. If anything, Cutler just needs to take this as a learning experience, move on from it, and not ever do such a thing again because in the end, he was just as accountable for the meltdown as everyone else. This looks like a situation in which the team knows Cutler was wrong for what he did, and he surely knows it, too. So I’d be surprised if Bears coach Lovie Smith hasn’t already sat down privately with Cutler to address this situation. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to find out that Cutler has already spoken to the offensive line. If Cutler has or plans on apologizing to the offensive line, I just think it should be a sincere thing and not contrived.
Scott Powers: Fact. The Bears need to move on from this distraction as soon as possible. Whether or not Cutler feels his actions were justified, he needs to swallow his pride on this one and apologize for the sake of the team. Obviously, the line, especially Webb, has to improve. If it doesn’t, it should begin worrying not about Cutler’s wrath, but that of Smith and the front office.
Jon Greenberg: Fiction. The line doesn’t need Cutler to be their friend, and he doesn’t need be the cuddly quarterback. Cutler just needs to be a better quarterback and less of a jerk to his teammates in the future. Sure, he could throw in a “Sorry dude,” but he’s borne the brunt of his actions in Green Bay. I don’t think Cutler has accomplished enough in the NFL to warrant his hissy fits, but I think his teammates know him well enough to let it pass.
Fact or Fiction: Gabe Carimi should start in place of Webb at LT.
Jeff Dickerson: Fiction. Carimi hasn't taken a snap at left tackle since college. You can't just throw him out there on the fly. Rushing to place Carimi at left tackle would be, at this point, weakening two positions -- even though the former first-round pick won the Outland Trophy his last year at Wisconsin. If the Bears want to seriously consider moving Carmi over to be Cutler's blindside protector, they need to give him the proper amount of practice reps before he's ready for game action. If Webb continues to struggle, and if Chris Williams is not deemed a more capable replacement, then experiment with Carimi at left tackle during the bye week in mid-October.
Scott Powers: Fact. What do the Bears have to lose in starting Carimi over Webb? That Cutler will get possibly sacked? That may happen anyway. I don’t think you know what you have in Carimi at left tackle unless you give him more of an opportunity. The St. Louis Rams could be just the team to experiment this with. They’re tied for 27th in the NFL with two sacks.
Jon Greenberg: Fact. It wouldn’t be the easiest transition right now, and I wouldn’t make this decision until the bye week, but it’s pretty obvious that Cutler has no faith in Webb, and it’s affecting his play. Also, Webb isn’t very good. It made sense to keep Carimi at right tackle during training camp, because he was coming off knee surgery. But as long as Carimi is healthy, why would you put your less talented tackle guarding Cutler’s blind spot?
Fact or Fiction: The Bears won't lose much if Michael Bush plays for Matt Forte.
Jeff Dickerson: Fiction. Bush is a solid tailback to have in the rotation, but Forte is a Pro Bowler who can beat a team on several levels. No matter how you spin it, Forte will be missed if he is forced to sit out due to a sprained ankle.
Michael C. Wright: Fact. That’s difficult to admit considering what the Bears gave up to sign Forte to a long-term contract. But you can’t deny what Bush has done when given the opportunity. Forte definitely possesses more explosion and elusiveness than Bush, which means the Bears will likely see some drop off at running back in the screen game. But for what the Bears lose in those areas, the Bears gain with Bush’s strength, deceptive speed, and footwork in between the tackles. So without Forte, the Bears lose an explosive element of their game. But it’s not a bad thing to feature a bruiser at running back that can help you pound opponents.
Scott Powers: Fiction. Bush isn’t a bad second option, but he is in no way Forte. Bush has been a good-but-not-great running back throughout his career. He’s dependable in that he’ll get you a first down when a few tough yards are needed, and he won’t fumble and occasionally he’ll break a big run. But overall, he’s not the same dynamic player as Forte, who can change a game running the ball or catching it. He’s proven that throughout his career. Bush doesn’t provide that same element.
Jon Greenberg: Fiction. Bush is a solid running back who runs with purpose, but Forte is a special back who gives the Bears big-play ability as a runner and receiver. When Forte gets loose, he has Devin Hester-like shiftiness and straight-line speed, not to mention a wow factor. There are aspects to Bush’s game that might be superior to Forte, but No. 22 will be missed if he’s out for multiple games.
Fact or Fiction: The Rams' Chris Long will have at least two sacks on Sunday.
Jeff Dickerson: Fiction. I cannot fathom the idea of the Bears ignoring the opposition's best pass rusher for a second consecutive week. They made a critical error last week when the offense failed to give Webb adequate help on Clay Matthews -- while the Packers took the exact opposite approach and triple-teamed Julius Peppers on several occasions. The story of this game up front likely will be what Peppers is able to accomplish against a banged-up St. Louis offensive line. But if for some reason Long goes wild, then the Bears are in more trouble than I thought.
Michael C. Wright: Fact. Chose “fiction” last week when asked this same question about Matthews and got burned. So that’s not happening again this week, especially when considering what appears to be an extremely tenuous situation on an offensive line that is supposed to be improved from a year ago. Coming off somewhat of a breakout season in 2011 (13 sacks), Long hasn’t yet generated a sack this season. So surely he sees the matchup with the Bears as a perfect opportunity to finally get rolling on the right track statistically. Really, could anyone blame him after what transpired at Lambeau Field?
Scott Powers: Fiction. Yes, I was wrong about what Matthews could do to the Bears’ offensive line last week, but I don’t believe Long has that same capability. He doesn’t have a sack on the season. He may get his first sack this week -- a number of the Rams defensive linemen may improve their stats this week -- but I think he gets just the one.
Jon Greenberg: Fact. Long must be licking his chops to face the Bears after watching last week's debacle. It’s like asking if his dad Howie stole the show in the mid-‘90s classic “Broken Arrow.” Last week, I thought the Bears could keep edge rusher Matthews under two sacks with a quick-hitting passing attack and a reliance on the run. Well, that didn’t work. Matthews had 3 1/2 sacks in the Packers’ blowout win. I think the pain continues for Cutler this week. Hope Webb brings his earplugs to Soldier Field.
Moore added, via Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com: "I just think it's wrong, honestly. I would feel some kind of way if he were to do me like that and make it seem like 'Well, the reason that I'm having a bad game is because what you're doing and not me taking accountability for myself because I'm throwing these types of passes or doing this type of read.' So it's a tough situation. When you act like that with your own teammates on the sideline, it's just something different that you normally wouldn't do. So you might say it in the locker room or something, but to do it like he did it, it's just weird."
Again, I think we should be careful about drawing conclusions about the majority of Bears players' feelings toward Cutler. Moore acknowledged there has been little to no discussion about the issue in the locker room. If linebackers Brian Urlacher or Lance Briggs said what Moore said, then the Bears would have a big problem on their hands.
Cutler is scheduled to host his ESPN 1000 radio show at noon Chicago time on Tuesday. He'll also address the media at Halas Hall on Wednesday afternoon. Stay tuned.
Related: The difference between Cutler's outburst toward Webb and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' admonishment of receiver James Jones.
Chicago Bears cornerback D.J. Moore called teammate Jay Cutler's actions in the team's loss Thursday to the Green Bay Packers, "wrong," saying Cutler "is what he is," and, "he's always been that way so I don't expect him to change."
Cutler was seen screaming at offensive tackle J'Marcus Webb and bumping into him on the sideline during the 23-10 loss. Webb had a tough game trying to block Clay Matthews, who had 3 1/2 of the Packers' seven sacks. Cutler threw four interceptions.
Read the entire story.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, a Vanderbilt alumnus, even donned a Commodores cap when he addressed the media prior to Wednesday's practice.
Also included in that group is nickelback D.J. Moore who spent three years with the Commodores from 2006-08 and was an All-American selection as a junior.
The always fun-loving and outspoken Moore predicted that Vanderbilt would win by "two or three touchdowns" but was somewhat at a loss when asked by a reporter which of the two prestigious universities produced the smarter players.
"I don't know," Moore. "I didn't go to school to learn too much to be honest with you. I should have studied a little more when I was in school ... I'm not the smartest guy, but probably have the most common sense.
"I'm not a dumb kid. I learn fast. I couldn't have done better than I did, but when I got to school and got good I was like ‘This is for the birds, it's time to leave.’ Now, I'm smarter than some of the kids that went to Florida State, those types of schools now. That's just off going to school, period. Some kids get in school with a point-nothing (grade point average), they didn't even go to high school."