Kyle Long: "I told you so"

In our Bear Report Rookie Diary, first-round offensive lineman Kyle Long discusses the outstanding performance of Chicago's offense against the Dallas Cowboys on MNF.

"It means a lot to be sitting here telling you that I told you so. Not in a negative sense, but just that the things we've been working on in practice have finally come to light. It's been frustrating, as we know we could get things going the way they worked in this game, but it just wasn't happening in game-day situations. Tonight we were sharp and I credit the entire roster for that.

"My technique could have been better. Particularly in the first half I was getting chewed up a bit. That's something I'll be working on the rest of this week. We let a few things get by us the first half, then we were able to bear down and get things done in the second. The object was to keep grinding and keep that clock winding down. With so many weapons as an offense you feel you need to move the ball like we did tonight. If we keep paying close attention to our timing, we should be able to keep doing that."

What was it like out there tonight?

"Cold, but you already knew that. But really, if you are playing and you are concentrating on your job, there isn't time to worry about any physical discomfort you might be experiencing. That will pass. The score of a game is what counts and what you will remember in the long run.

"Plus, we've been practicing outside and we're used to the cold at this point. That was the approach all week, to acclimate to what we knew the conditions would be tonight. We were so fired up and ready to play in the cold tonight that it turned out being a lot of fun. And watching all the NFL snow games yesterday helped us be mentally prepared for what we'd see.

"McCown made me laugh when he helicoptered over those guys and landed in the end zone. What was that? At first I was concerned because the ground where he landed was icy and really hard. But then I saw him jump right up and start celebrating so it was all good. That dude is amazing.

"Although it was a lot of fun to be out there tonight, I will admit that I got near the heaters as much as I could when the offense was not on the field – one thing I probably shouldn't mention but I'm a rookie and have no filter on that kind of thing yet. There was a guy who kept standing right in front of the sideline heater. It was getting annoying as my hands were numb and I really needed to get them thawed out before we were in again.

"I didn't say anything, but I did kind of gently nudge him aside. Or maybe I wasn't so gentle about it. Then I looked up from the ground and saw who I was pushing out of the way: Trestman. That's not good. I turned around and tried to be as unobtrusive as possible as I slunk away. Not sure if he noticed me or not, but if he reads this, he'll know now."

What did you see out there?

"The first thing I noticed was all the fans in the stadium. They were even in their seats when we first went out for warm ups. We are well aware that they and no heated benches or blowers like we did so it was amazing, really, that they had the dedication to show up and stay there.

"Most were in their seats until well into the fourth quarter. I'm not sure that as a fan I could have done that. So I'd just like to take this opportunity to thank them. Hey, guys, we knew that you were there and we appreciate the fact that you stayed to support us. I'd always heard that about these fans. Now I know it's true."

And the Mike Ditka tribute?

"That was cool. Obviously I didn't get to watch it live as we were in the locker room, but I'm definitely going to watch the replay. A great, impressive guy.

"What I liked most about tonight, other than the final score and a lot of guys' spectacular plays, were the long, sustained drives. It's so important to get that balance between offense and defense. They gave us the field position then we were able to keep the defense off of the field for sustained periods of time.

"The other thing that was huge was the score by Jeffery as the second quarter ended. Makes a big difference when you go into the half time locker room right after something spectacular like that. On a cold night in a hard-fought game, you need every advantage you can find. A momentum builder like that means a lot.

"Dallas got ahead of us a little bit right at the start of the game but we were back in it immediately. There was a lot of back and forth in the early going, then things began to get more under control for us. To get that kind of production on all sides of the ball under these weather conditions was impressive. It gives us excellent momentum going forward.

"We control our fate from here as far as needing to win out. What we can't control is the results of the other teams in our division. Our job is to enjoy this win for a few hours, then head right back to the practice field and get to it again. We have a short week leading to a road game so there is no time to relax. I know that everybody says one game at a time, but that's true. You can only work on the game that's next on the schedule. Thinking too far ahead is not productive.

"Physically, I think it will be OK for us. The quick turnaround is never easy but we've done this before and know how to approach the shortened week. It's a matter of desire and concentration. You know what your job will be so you make sure you are in physical and mental condition to give your best.

"I will be very interested to return to Halas Hall, watch the game film and get ready to plan for the upcoming week. It's all up to us, our focus and what we can do. There is good momentum going forward right now and we need to build on that."

Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 12 years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.

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