LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- One trait D.J. Moore will never be accused of lacking is confidence; a fact Bears head coach Lovie Smith reiterated during the club's three-day mandatory minicamp.
"He did some good things last year, and you know he's had good offseason practices," Smith said. "He's a playmaker. I think he can rush for a small guy. He's got excellent hands, and we're expecting him to make a lot of big plays too. He'll tell you he can play any position on the football field. He's not a guy that's lacking confidence and I think he can. He's got great quickness. As I said, great hands; plays the ball well."
After seeing almost zero playing time three years ago as a rookie, Moore is now an established member of the Bears defense as the unit's starting nickel back. The 5-9 defender is setting even loftier goals for himself for the upcoming season, which should come as no surprise to anybody who knows Moore.
"Finished up the OTAs and minicamp with about 5 interceptions; so I'm just doing what I always do, pretty much," Moore said on Thursday. "I think (I should get) about seven or eight (interceptions this year) and a couple sacks. I had four (picks in 2011) and missed about three or four games last year. As long as I'm in the game making plays or what not I'm catching as many picks as any other guy on any other team who's starting and playing every snap. I've been getting opportunities to make plays based on what I'm doing so I'm happy with that."
Moore could face competition at nickel from either Tim Jennings or Kelvin Hayden -- depending on which player ends up winning one of the starting cornerback jobs -- but the former fourth round selection out of Vanderbilt remains confident he will play well enough to stay on the field. Actually, Moore really doesn't have much of a choice. His original contract is set to expire following the 2012 season so the former fourth-round selection needs another quality campaign to help secure a new deal.
"I don't worry about it personally because I really can't do anything about it," Moore said. "I can just play. I would think to myself that if I'm a good player and you see that I'm doing good and will continue to do good; why wait until the end of the season to pay you or enhance your contract? I guess teams like to wait to the last minute to make sure you don't fall over or hurt yourself or something like that. (But) if you play well it's going to happen."