Michael Bush bristled when his name was mentioned in the same sentence as "short-yardage back" early in training camp.

Now the Chicago Bears backup running back appears headed for his first start since leaving the Oakland Raiders in free agency. At least this week against the St. Louis Rams it appears he will be more than a short-yardage and relief back as Matt Forte remained sidelined at practice Wednesday with an ankle sprain.

"I've been playing, it's my fifth year now," Bush said. "You've seen me backing up [Darren] McFadden. When it's my turn, I did what I was supposed to do."

The 6-foot-2, 243-pounder gained 977 yards on 256 attempts as McFadden's replacement last year and has 96 yards on 26 carries his first two Bears games.

Bush has yet to catch a pass with the Bears, but has confidence he can fill in for Forte. He caught 37 passes as McFadden's replacement last year and has 91 career catches.

"They told me when I came here that they're looking for a guy to keep the offense rolling when he [Forte] is out," Bush said. "So we're going with that."

As the short-yardage back, as well, Bush will be doing double duty --  which Forte typically doesn't do when he starts.

"It just lets me get into the flow better and get a feel for things," he said.

Sgt. Spencer: WR Devin Hester lined up during the individual portion of practice Wednesday with running backs during pass patterns. The media is not allowed to watch the team or scrimmage portion of practice.

Hester has only two catches on the year. So could this be a new ploy to get him open more often?

"I know nothing, I know nothing," RB coach Tim Spencer said in his best Sgt. Schultz imitation.

Nothing special: Coach Lovie Smith cautioned the media against getting caught up in the way Green Bay stopped the Bears' passing game using a "two-man," bracketing WR Brandon Marshall with a safety over the top and a cornerback. The Packers made a big deal about it after Thursday's game.

"Let's not make too much into the two-man," Smith said. "It's not a new defense that's been just discovered or anything like that.

"That team up north beat us because they executed better in a lot of different areas. No more than that."

Hot water: Could D.J. Moore get himself into hot water with Smith for saying he didn't agree with Jay Cutler's shoving of J'Marcus Webb?

"I talk to our players, but I don't tell them what to say and don't stop them from saying anything," Smith said. "If you have something to say, just make sure you put your name behind it. That's the message.

"But of course the message to our football team is that we're a team. There's a reason you don't let everybody in. There are things that you should keep within our group."

In short, yes.

Hunger game: LG Chilo Rachal, who will start for benched Chris Spencer on Sunday, appreciates getting into live action all the more considering he had been a starter 38 games for San Francisco before being benched and leaving in free agency, only to sit the first two Bears games this season.

"It made me hungrier, but also humbled me," Rachal said. "From me being a starter to having to take a seat, it just gave me a different perspective of the game and learning it in the classroom as a student.

"But also, I'm hungry -- beyond hungry. I think hungry is an understatement."

Also out: DE Julius Peppers got the day off due to foot soreness. He has been battling plantar faciitis.

Follow Bears reporter Gene Chamberlain on Twitter @CBSBears.