Fast pace introduction continues

The pressure was turned up a notch on the Bears rookies as the team headed into the second week of mini camp at Halas Hall.

"This is what we have been waiting for. It's our chance to begin to put the rookies through their paces and see what they can do." said Linebacker Coach Gary Moeller following a coaches session with the media Monday.

The first week of mini-camp generally consists of assessing the condition of the veteran players and introducing the Bears system to the new team members.

"So far, we've been talking fundamentals," Moeller said. "Now it's time to go out there and see how these players are going to perform for us. Personally, I'm expecting big things. We have a strong, smart group. This is the time to put their skills to the test."

Rookie Joe Odom, a LB from Purdue who recently signed a three year contract with the Bears, was pleased to be back on the football field.

"Even though it hasn't been very long since I played, I'm glad to have this chance to be out here," Odom said. "In college ball, you just have that one short spring practice, then you're done until late in t he summer. In the pros, there seems to be much more continuity. It's easier to find your rhythm when you are playing more. Being here week after week is how a rookie learns his position. Really, it's the way that we can all make ourselves better."

Odom noticed something different at this level of football that he hadn't encountered in the college game.

"Speed. That's the first thing that comes to mind. Everything happens at a much quicker pace in the pros. Also, I'm noticing how physical the game can be. And that's just during the walk throughs. When the pads come in, it's going to get very rough out there. The third thing that is quite different from college is the overall strength at each position. These are tough guys. That could be hard on all of us rookies during the months to come."

Odom seemed relieved to be the first of this year's rookie class to have signed with the team.

"That's one less thing for me to worry about," Odom said. "Now I can concentrate on football. I've got spending money in my pocket and things are pretty good. I'm happy with the deal we arrived at and I'm looking forward to playing with the Bears."

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