Rookie safety Al Afalava has been impressive, and got some work with the first team on Monday.
For example, rookie Al Afalava continues his climb up the depth chart, working as the first team free safety in the nickel package. Nothing is official, but Afalava is certainly pushing fellow safety Craig Steltz for playing time.
"I'm probably a little step behind," admitted Afalava. "But, I've been studying my playbook every night. It's just a matter of eliminating mental errors so I can be able to go out there and play fast."
"He's making plays," head coach Lovie Smith said. "A lot of times when rookies come in, especially in the secondary, they're quiet. He has a little bit of confidence -- he talks because he knows what's going on. He has good skills, good size, good quickness, good raw speed, and his strong suit is hitting. That's one thing we haven't gotten a chance to see, but hopefully in this game [Saturday at Buffalo] we'll get to see our defensive backs tackle."
Afalava is still making up for lost time -- he was forced to miss the bulk of the offseason program because Oregon State is on the quarters system.
"Gil Byrd [assistant defensive backs coach/safeties] helps me out a lot," said Afalava. "There's a lot of knowledge with Gil. Somebody that was in the league for 10 years and made two Pro Bowls, just learning from a guy like him is a great opportunity."
Other news and notes:
Jamar Williams (left shoulder), Fontel Mines (knee strain) were injured during practice. Mines had to be carted off the field, while Williams walked off with a trainer.
Corner back Zack Bowman was dressed in full pads, but Smith said Bowman was "a few days away" from returning to action.
Running back Matt Forte looked fresh after some time off.
The Bears worked on their goal-line package at the end of practice.
A bundled up Charles Tillman briskly walking around the practice field. Tillman trying to sweat off some pounds since he's still limited after back surgery.
Jeff Dickerson is our Bears beat reporter and weeknight host on ESPN 1000. He also handles Bears coverage for ABC-7 and appears on "The Chicago Huddle." E-mail comments, questions and feedback by clicking here.