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Paea questionable, Walters out for Sunday

Sarah Nader -
Chicago's Stephen Paea catches Cincinnati's BenJarvus Green Ellis in the first quarter at Soldier Field Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013
Sarah Nader - Chicago's Stephen Paea catches Cincinnati's BenJarvus Green Ellis in the first quarter at Soldier Field Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013

LAKE FOREST – Depth already is thin at defensive tackle for the Bears, and Stephen Paea missed his third practice in a row Friday with a toe injury.

He is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints, though, and told reporters he expects to play.

If Paea is limited, that would mean more snaps for Landon Cohen, who played 14 last week against the Detroit Lions, 48 hours after signing with the Bears. Undrafted rookie Zach Minter has yet to be active, but is another option on the interior to help Nate Collins.

“We’ve been working all of our guys there,” coach Marc Trestman said Friday. “We got our new guys in there. Landon’s working in there, we’ve got Nate working in there, Corey (Wootton) works inside, (David) Bass has been working, as well.”

Charles Tillman (groin) and Brandon Marshall (foot) both returned to practice after missing the previous two days.

Tillman, who is questionable, has been unable to play every snap in the past two games, deferring time to Zack Bowman. Tillman did say he is “making progress” and feels better than he did last week.

Marshall is listed as probable and was a limited participant in Friday’s practice.

Safety Anthony Walters (hamstring) missed practice and has been ruled out for Sunday, the first Bears player to have that designation before a game this season. Cornerback Sherrick McManis (quad) is probable, and he can help fill in for Walters on special teams.

Red area: As they have done at Friday practices, the Bears put focus on their play inside the 20-yard line.

“We spent most of the day in the red zone, trying to become more efficient offensively this week than we were last week,” Trestman said.

They converted only 2 of 5 red-zone opportunities into touchdowns against the Lions and had been 8 for 11 heading into that loss. The defense has been stout in the red zone, though, holding opponents to four touchdowns on 12 possessions.

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