Well, I finally got into a game again. It was exciting to get the call. It had been quite a while since I had that opportunity, and I was ready to show the coaches what I could bring on defense.
What I'd been doing since the last game I played in was refining my technique. I'd been working a lot on my hands, my position and my reaction time. I got quite a bit of one-on-one time with defensive line coach Eric Washington and also with some of the veteran linemen. It's fine to be there on the sideline observing everything, but, for a rookie, getting the time on the field makes all the difference. I hope that I was able to demonstrate what I could do and that they were satisfied with my performance.
The game was a difficult one, as anybody who watched it is well aware. The field conditions were incredible. I went to school at Northwestern, so I had certainly seen my share of tough weather games, but this was something else altogether. At times, the wind would swirl the snow into mini tornadoes, and it was nearly impossible to see. At other times, the wind would just blow real hard. Your hands would get so cold that it was impossible to feel the jersey of the player you were trying to tackle.
The only time I can remember playing in anything close to those conditions was one time at the Big House in Michigan. But I'm certain that last Sunday was a lot worse.
Any time I came off of the field, I either headed to the heated bench or grabbed one of those big heavy coats the trainer had ready. It was extremely difficult to be on the field during the TV timeouts. There's nothing much you can do during those but stand there and freeze. Not fun.
Facing Tom Brady and the New England offense was a lesson for me. They were at the top of their game, and nothing seemed to go wrong for them. One thing that did surprise me was the lack of problems their receivers and running backs had with the footing. The field was snowy and really slippery in places, but they seemed to chug right through that. At times, it seemed that some of us were sliding all over the place. I know that quite a few of our players changed cleats at halftime hoping for a better grip on the turf.
A question I had this week was whether or not it is easier to put a close game or a blowout behind you. I'd say that I personally have problems putting any loss behind me. You know mistakes have been made, and you go into the film room on Monday just hoping that not too may of those mistakes were yours.
What I want to do is turn it into a learning experience. There was a really good team doing their thing. What can I learn about defending players like that? You can be sure I'll be looking real hard at film trying to figure that out. But I think there is still a lot of confidence among the players in the locker room this week. Games like that happen sometimes. You acknowledge it and move on.
Minnesota is coming up next in a game on Monday night. With that really crazy weather they had up there and all the problems with their stadium roof, it looks as if the game will finally be moved to the University of Minnesota stadium.
Simoni Lawrence, a linebacker that we just signed to our practice squad, played college ball at Minnesota. He said the university stadium management is going on the radio looking for people to shovel the field and get the seating area free of snow. If that is going on, it has to be wild up there. From what he said, they are working on this day and night. I guess no more snow is expected at least for the immediate future, but it will be cold. Around 18 degrees at game time is what I heard.
We are game-planning right now. It's a difficult situation when you don't know which quarterback the Vikings will be using. The three that they have on the roster play very different games, and the fact that it looks as if the game has been moved from an indoor field to an outdoor field also will impact how we prepare.
We'll be drawing up a number of defensive approaches, then use the one that fits the situation best on Monday night. It will be interesting to say the least.
We definitely want to solidify our position on top of the NFC North. Being a division game, it's very important for us. I'll be curious to find out how things develop, and I certainly hope to be out there playing and contributing again.
Corey Wootton and other first-year Bears are putting together their Rookie Diary entries with correspondent Beth Gorr throughout the 2010 season exclusively for BearReport.com.
BR Rookie Diary: Wootton, 5th Entry
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