After seeing limited action in three games as a rookie last season, right guard Ja'Tyre Carter has made his first two NFL starts the past two weeks.
The 2022 seventh-round draft pick from Southern replaced veteran Nate Davis with the No. 1 offensive line in Tampa and Kansas City.
"This opportunity has been a blessing to me," Carter said. "Nate being out for personal reasons, my prayers go up to him. But the opportunity has been a real blessing for me to just get those game reps and get better at what I need to do."
Carter was a four-year starter at Southern, opening 34 games. As a senior in 2021, he was named second-team all-Southwestern Athletic Conference.
Despite being a seventh-round pick from a smaller school, the 6-3, 311-pounder always believed that he could perform in the NFL.
"I never doubted it, but coming from my school you have a little nervousness, a little anxiousness to see what you can do," Carter said. "But after that first play [against the Buccaneers], I was like, 'I can do this. I'm in here now, so let's go.'"
Carter has been inundated with calls from friends and family back home in White Castle, La., telling him how proud they are of what he's accomplished. And he's thrilled to be able to show children from his hometown what's possible.
As for the name of his hometown, Carter is waiting to receive an endorsement opportunity from the White Castle hamburger chain.
"I hope one day, because I do like to eat," he said.
The Bears were back on the practice fields at Halas Hall to continue their preparation for Sunday's Week 4 game against the Denver Broncos.
Injury update: All four Bears players on Wednesday's injury report are defensive backs: Safety Eddie Jackson (foot) and cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson (hamstring) and Josh Blackwell (hamstring) did not practice, while cornerback Tyrique Stevenson (illness) worked out without any limitations.
Status quo: Bears coach Matt Eberflus will call defensive plays Sunday against the Broncos for the third straight week and intends to so do for the rest of the season.
"That's the plan," Eberflus said. "We've talked about different things, but that's the plan right there right now."
Prior to being hired as Bears coach in 2022, Eberflus called plays as Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator for four seasons from 2018-21.
"Where we sit right now, this is the best thing for us," Eberflus said. "The reason is because I'm the defensive coordinator where I came from and it's a natural fit for us to do that right now."
More of Moore: After catching six passes for 104 yards a week earlier against the Buccaneers, receiver DJ Moore had just three receptions for 41 yards and one touchdown last Sunday versus the Chiefs.
"DJ is a great player, he really is. He's a great person too," Eberflus said. "We obviously have to target him as well as the other skill on our team. That's one of the conversations we're having as a group, as an offensive staff and myself, is being able to in the first plays of the game—the first 15—to really target those skill players. And DJ's one of those guys."