Rookie Chris DeGeare has only been active for three games this season and hasn't played a snap on offense. But that could change Sunday if Pro Bowl left guard Steve Hutchinson has trouble playing with a cast that will protect his broken right thumb.

DeGeare, a fifth-round pick last April, said he is ready if called upon. “Hutch is a very tough guy," DeGeare said. "I know he’s going to give it a shot but if something were to go bad I’ll be on the sideline ready to go.”

DeGeare started all 12 games last season at left tackle for Wake Forest but he does have experience playing guard from his college days. He also spent training camp working at left guard behind Hutchinson and said he has grown comfortable at the position.

DeGeare feels he has made his biggest strides in pass protection and credits Hutchinson with providing pointers. “Ever since camp he’s been giving me little tips and hints," DeGeare said. "I watch him on his technique and stuff, which is great for me to come in as a rookie and be able to see somebody that’s such a high caliber player as him. So he’s helped me out a lot.”

Although DeGeare was active for two games early in the season and played on special teams, he found himself scratched from six in a row after spraining an ankle while playing on the kickoff return unit on Oct. 11 against the Jets. DeGeare was not active again until last Sunday at Washington.

"It’s feeling fine," DeGeare said of his ankle. "I took a couple of days off when I first got hurt. … It’s been a while now so it’s doing fine.”
Asked if there was any difference in the way he prepares in a situation like this, DeGeare said: “If I know I’m active you’ve got to prepare the same way as if you were going to play. You’ve got to be up to speed with all the play calls and all the calls going on along the line. But once you know that, you’re pretty tuned in.”

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