It's really exciting to be going to the playoffs my first year in the league. Now that we're the No. 2 seed and get that bye week, it's even better.
The vets have been talking to all of us to be sure that we realize how important the next few weeks are. We understand that it's been a few years since the team has gone to the postseason, and it's not a situation to be taken lightly. It's not something that automatically happens every year.
We're expecting a very intense and fast game no matter who our opponent might be. That's something else the vets have been telling us. As different as training-camp scrimmages were from regular-season games, there is an even bigger difference between regular-season games and the playoffs. It's one-and-done unless you're paying attention.
Having that bye week will be very important, I think. There are no major injuries on the team, but everybody is tired and a little beaten up. You can't keep that from happening after months of football. We'll rest as much as we can and then use the extra prep time to put in a game plan.
I think most of us also plan to watch some football on TV. It's as a good chance as any to scout the opposition. I did watch the Vikings game Tuesday and was interested in how that unfolded against Philadelphia. Minnesota shut down Michael Vick's offense when it counted, even though the Vikings were not favored in the game. It's similar to the way things have been happening to us all year. We're the underdogs, and everybody seems surprised when things go well.
I've been active for the past five games, and it's been great. I was slightly concerned as far as whether or not I'd be up to speed once I got in. But when I lined up, everything I learned from the sideline fell into place and things went smoothly.
I've been asked a lot about that hit on Brett Favre. It happened so fast. I just went in there and caught up with him. I respect Favre and his ability, so I'm definitely not going around bragging that I got to him. It was a good play that worked out well for our side. It was strange, though, to see the replays of that hit later on national television. I was getting texts from my friends congratulating me and my family was thrilled, so it ended up being really nice. But I'm not going to spend much time thinking about it. It's time to move on to the next quarterback we'll face.
That's Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers, and that's this Sunday.
One question I had this week was whether Minnesota's upset of Philadelphia would impact our build-up to the Packers game, as we already know we're getting that first-round bye now. My view is that it won't at all. There is still plenty for us to be playing for. Also, this is the big rivalry game. Does anybody think we're just going to say, "Oh, well. We're in the playoffs, so this doesn't matter"? Trust me, that's not going to happen.
Rodgers is a mobile, strong and smart quarterback. We'll need to have a great pass rush and shut down his receivers. Getting him off balance and feeling pressured is the key, or so I think. Our secondary has been playing well, so they will take care of the deep threat, but it's up to the line to get things taken care of before there is a deep downfield play.
Obviously, the Packers want this game because their postseason aspirations may depend on it, so their intensity should be pretty high.
Since I'm a rookie, I haven't played yet in Lambeau Field, but I've heard it's an amazing scene. There's nothing better than a long-standing traditional NFL rivalry. I've heard that the fans up there are really loyal and get pretty worked up. But we're expecting quite a few fans wearing blue and orange to be there as well.
We're all extremely interested in finding out who we'll be playing in the postseason. There's not much we can do in terms of preparation until we find out who we'll be up against. We'll just see how this all plays out as the season ends and then go from there.
There's a lot going on in college football, too. I've been in touch with my former Northwestern teammates, who are playing in a bowl game January 1. They're so excited. Northwestern has a great fan base, so they're expecting a lot of purple in the stands.
I plan to watch if I can, and I'll certainly be recording the game for later viewing.
One more thing that came up this week is the announcement of my teammates going to the Pro Bowl: Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Julius Peppers and Devin Hester. As a team, we're really proud of these guys. They're the best of the best.
Well, that's about all I have to say right now. We're practicing hard and formulating the game plan for Green Bay. I'm expecting a fast, intense game, so our defense has to step up and get things done. It should be an interesting weekend.
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, 6th Entry
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