While Henry Melton might be lost for the season with a knee injury and understandably demoralized he still has figured out a way to offer the Chicago Bears a little bit more.

Melton reached out to the guy who will absorb much of his playing time moving forward and Nate Collins was appreciative of the gesture.

“Me and Henry are really tight” Collins said after practice Wednesday. “He said you know this is something that happens to guys and you just have to be ready and take advantage of it. I wish Henry the best. I know Henry’s going through a lot right now. Hopefully it will be a fast healthy recovery.”

While Collins is itching for his chance he knows it’s inevitable that his play on the line will be compared to Melton’s. The 6-foot-2 296-pounder who has spent much of his four seasons in the NFL at nose tackle hopes he can be appreciated for his own unique skill set.

“I feel like I’m aggressive” said Collins who ran extra wind sprints after practice because he doesn't want conditioning to be a reason he might struggle. “I feel like I might be a little undersized but in some situations playing inside that phone booth at nose tackle it’s an advantage if I keep my pads down and use my leverage to my advantage.”

Stephen Paea still is expected to remain at nose tackle for the Bears this week but alongside Collins at defensive tackle the Bears could present something of a double-nose-tackle look at Detroit on Sunday.

“I feel like we’re both guys that can penetrate and push the pocket and we’re both small guys in there” Collins said of lining up alongside Paea. “We try to use our leverage to our advantage and when we go against bigger guys we have to stick with our technique and let our technique work everything out.”

First and foremost for Collins will be recognizing his gap and staying in it. He doesn’t have to come out and be the hero.

“The coach says every day the star of the defense is the defense” Collins said. “If we stay in our gap then we’ll have an opportunity to make plays and when the plays come your way you have to make them. That’s what I think I’ve been doing. There’s always room for improvement. Out here it’s not really about me I’m just trying to get better.”

If anybody knows what Collins is capable of doing it’s defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. They were together with Jacksonville as recently as 2011.