While it was interesting to have the opportunity to see Lambeau Field for the first time and play the Packers at their home stadium, the game itself was a tremendous disappointment.
I know that some fans and some members of the media had said last week that the Green Bay game was one we'd just walk through, something we had to do to finish out the season and get to the playoffs. That wasn't how this team saw things at all. We are in to win every time we put on the uniform, and this is particularly true when we are going against our big division rival. It was not the outcome we had hoped for, to say the least.
I don't have any explanation for what happened. We definitely expected a strong passing attack from Aaron Rodgers. Our defense held up pretty well through most of the game but a few things slipped through, which resulted in the losing score for Chicago. I think what we can take away from that on a positive note is that the starters played the entire game, and overall it was a good tune-up for the playoffs.
There is only so much you can prepare in practice. Having the opportunity to work out some things on the field during the Packers game, I think, will ultimately prove to be beneficial for us. You just can't duplicate the speed or the intensity of a real game when you are playing at Halas Hall against your teammates.
We went through the film Wednesday frame by frame and analyzed our mistakes. Correcting what we saw will be one of the things we'll be concentrating on during this bye week of practice.
I don't think it makes any difference at this point in our preparation for the playoffs not knowing who our eventual opponent will be. The approach we are taking right now is to view this week as a return to training camp. We're really revisiting the basics. Everybody is breaking down his individual game in terms of technique and timing.
What I discovered during this first season in the NFL is that as you progress through your schedule, you get kind of caught up in things and sometimes your skills can deteriorate. It's not something you notice while you are in a game situation, but later, when you get a little breathing space, that's when you realize there are some things that you can improve upon. For myself, I am dedicating this week to working on my coverage, speed and timing.
The vets have been telling us about the intensity of play we'll experience during that first playoff game. There is so much at stake that they say it is very different from the regular season. I can't wait to find out for myself. It probably will be like a college bowl game, but much more difficult. You're dealing with players who have very high skill sets. Everybody wants to go that one step further toward the Super Bowl, so nothing can be taken for granted.
One question I had this week was whether or not I was surprised to be heading to the postseason during my first year as a pro. I'd say definitely not. I expected to sign with a top team during the draft process, a team that would have a realistic shot at going to the Super Bowl. That's every rookie's hope. But the fact that this is actually happening right now is pretty exciting. I want to soak up every part of the experience.
A second question was about the physical condition I am in right now. Am I tired, or am I feeling good? I'd say I'm doing all right. More good than bad. Everybody is somewhat tired, which is why getting this bye was so important to us as a team. However, I am feeling good overall. Our conditioning program is excellent, so I've been able to avoid injuries for the most part. My weight is good, and my energy level is high. I feel strong and ready to go. Mentally, I am fresh. I want to participate in every part of this experience and enjoy it.
Where do we go from here? Of course, right now, that is difficult to predict. I can say that we are optimistic and extremely motivated. It's great that the first playoff game will be held at Soldier Field. Our fans are loud and enthusiastic and should be a real boost to us on the field.
If we didn't feel that we had a very good chance of going all the way to the Super Bowl, there would be no reason for us to bother playing. That was the goal everybody talked about the first time the rookies came to Halas Hall. That hasn't changed at all. I think so far this year the Bears have surprised a lot of critics, and there is no reason that trend can't continue.
I personally see the team as a very strong one on offense, defense and special teams. There is a good balance overall. We're all in this together, and we're ready to go.
This week, we concentrate on fundamentals. Next week, we put in the game plan. The vets are spending extra time with the rookies preparing us for what is coming. This postseason time is great, and I'm definitely having fun. I can't wait for the playoffs to begin.
Major Wright 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: Wright, 7th Entry
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