It's been an amazing season for my first year in the NFL. Although I didn't get to play quite as much as I hoped I would, it's been a wonderful learning experience and one I hope to continue on the field next year.
The Bears are going to the playoffs. How good is that? As a rookie, this is all new to me, but I can tell you that it is definitely exciting. Although practices are run pretty much the way they have been all year, there is a different feeling around here. It's like we all just can't wait to get down to Soldier Field and get this game on.
We are well aware that we lost to the Seahawks earlier this year, but, looking back, it's almost as if it was two different teams. I looked at some of the tape I have of that game, and I see so much progress in our team overall. I think our communication is better, our play is more refined – things are just more polished all around.
I definitely was watching the Seahawks game last weekend, as well. They really handed it to the Saints. Seeing somebody bust a run like Marshawn Lynch did gives you pause. A move like that is difficult to counter, but it can be done. It's mostly a matter of timing. You have to be alert all of the time, be aware that something like that can happen and be ready to go after the ball.
In that game, the Seahawks were cast as the Bears usually are: underdogs. Nobody thought there was any chance that they could win. But they did, and they certainly earned respect from a lot of people, including members of this team. We know they can be dangerous, so this is definitely a game I would say nobody is going to take lightly.
We went back to basics last week in terms of our practices. It was good to slow things down some and take each move step by step. Then as the week progressed, we sped things up a bit. Now, we are back to the tempo we use during regular weeks before a game.
The game plan itself is fairly simple. It's definitely not oversimplified, but effective without being too complex. Of course, I can't give you any specific information, but I do think that having the bye week has been a real bonus. There's more time to analyze things and to go through the work.
The physical aspect of that bye has been as important as the mental aspect. A lot of guys here are tired and somewhat beaten up. You just can't help that happening after so many weeks of pounding through the season. Having the opportunity to relax, to take a breath, is all good. I know we came back strong after the regular season bye, and there is no reason to think that the same won't be true this time.
The Seahawks just finished a difficult game, and they'll be on the road going into a different time zone. I don't see that as being a bad thing for us.
One question I had this week was whether or not it would be difficult to concentrate this week with the increased pace and greater media scrutiny. What we are trying to do as a team is keep things as much the same as possible. Sure, there will be a lot of stuff written about us, but it doesn't mean we have to read it. Believe me, there is plenty of things to think about without worrying about that. The actual hours of practice are still the same, and the routine of meetings and film study won't change either. Then we'll head downtown the night before the game and get ready for Sunday.
Yet another question I had was if I was frustrated about not playing much this season and whether or not I'd be in uniform this weekend. I guess that in an ideal world I would have enjoyed more game time, but it will all come when I'm ready.
I spent a very productive season watching everything I could from the sideline. You'd be surprised how much you can learn doing that. I changed up what I was studying depending on the situation. If our defense was off of the field I spent a lot of time watching the other team's defense. When our guys were out there, I watched what they did. I also watched the opposing offense, putting myself in the situation of our secondary – at least mentally – and planning what I'd be doing out there.
I think that any situation is what you make of it. If you want to learn and need to learn, then you will learn. I will be finishing out this year far ahead of where I was around draft day last year.
Mentally, I've had to be prepared 24/7. I never have found out until game day whether or not I'd be in. There's just no opportunity for a let-down that way. You need to feel competitive and ready to go at all times. That has also been the case physically. My conditioning is good, and my body feels strong. If the coaches call for me, I'll be ready for sure.
Looking back on this spring to now, it's been a dream come true. Every player, no matter his age or level, wants the chance to go to the Super Bowl. We're moving closer to that now, and it's so amazing. I'm optimistic and excited and taking in everything that is going on with this team right now. Football doesn't get any better than this.
Joshua Moore 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: Moore, 6th Entry
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