In terms of penalties, the Miami game was not my best showing, but I'd much rather take the 10 yards than have Jay Cutler go down. I've been studying the game film, and from what I can see from that so far, it's mostly a matter of my timing. I need to pay closer attention to the snap count and to the way the rest of the guys on the line are moving.
It's nothing that can't be fixed, but it was frustrating to have that happen. I guess if I can take the longer view, I can tell myself that penalties are part of the experience during rookie year. That isn't meant as any kind of any excuse, just as a partial explanation. I learned from my mistakes and will do everything I can to make sure that doesn't happen again. You can be sure that is what I'll be working on in practice this week.
I was asked what I thought was the most important thing that contributed to the win over Miami. That's a pretty difficult question to answer because each win has so many factors. As far as the offense is concerned, I think there was better communication on the O-Line. Jay had more time to make his decisions and to get a play going. Having Roberto Garza back again at right guard made a positive difference, as well. He's such a strong player and a leader on our side of the ball.
The running game was very effective, and the receivers had excellent production. There was a good balance on offense overall. Jay had a variety of targets for his passing game. The blocking was good and opened up the running game. There were some change-ups, faster snap counts, other tweaks here and there.
We expected a strong game from Miami's defense, and that's what we saw, but by raising our level of play, we were able to neutralize that.
I can't say enough about how well our defense played. A shutout against anybody at this level is really impressive. I think that the Miami game was a confidence builder for all of the players and that it will give us positive momentum moving forward through the rest of the season.
Another question I had was about the physical aspect of such a quick turnaround. I won't kid you: It was pretty hard, maybe even more so for the rookies who aren't accustomed to the longer season yet. It was the kind of situation that you had to just get through.
You play a hard game on a Sunday, you practice for a few days after that, then travel to play another game at night, all in a few days. I tried to rest on the plane going down to Florida, and I tried to take any free time that came and relax as much as I could, but I definitely felt the physical effects once we got back to Chicago. I was really tired on Friday, but having the weekend free to rest definitely helped.
There's a big one here on Sunday against the Eagles. We are going over film this week and having the usual meetings concerning our game plan. I won't say anything about what we have in mind, but we are aware that Philadelphia is playing really well right now. They are strong on both sides of the ball. Our job will be to counter that and get good production overall.
One last question I had was about my reaction to the weather. This week in practice was the first time I'd experienced any kind of real cold. Remember, I'm not from around here. It was dark, it was damp, it was pretty miserable. The vets tell me this is nothing compared to what will come later in December, but I have to tell you, it was tough. We practiced today in short-sleeved shirts, and I was shaking. Couldn't wait to get into a hot shower. Layering another shirt under my jersey from now on might be a good idea.
And, finally, Happy Thanksgiving to the fans and to my teammates and coaches. I hope all of you enjoy the day. We are working Thursday, but once that is done I am going to fill this belly and enjoy the company of my family and friends.
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