Brandon Meriweather's opportunity to start arrives

Without saying as much, the Chicago Bears made it clear Brandon Meriweather was destined for a spot in the starting lineup shortly after he was signed before the start of Week 1.

He took the place of free safety Major Wright for about half the snaps in the second half last week against the Atlanta Falcons, and now Meriweather will be in the lineup Sunday against the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome.

Veteran strong safety Chris Harris will miss the game with a hamstring injury, forcing Meriweather into action. According to Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune, Meriweather has moved into the free safety spot and Wright has moved over to strong safety.

It’s the first time the Bears have faced the Saints in New Orleans since 2003, but Meriweather played Drew Brees and Co. here two seasons ago in a 38-17 loss for the New England Patriots.

“I dropped two picks that game,'' Meriweather said. "It was very frustrating. Any time you get a chance to get a pick, you want to get it, especially when you're going against an elite quarterback. That's one of the balls you put up in your trophy room and brag about.''

Bears coach Lovie Smith said the team isn’t concerned about having one safety who is still learning the scheme on the field with another safety that was to be replaced by the newcomer.

"If we put them out there, we're going to be comfortable with them,'' Smith said. "I just know Brandon is a quick study. And he has been around the game a little bit. The terminology is a little different, but it's not like he's a rookie coming in. He has lined up in big games. If we end up playing him more than he played before, we'll feel comfortable.''

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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