Player Diary

Second round draft pick CB <!--Default NodeId For Charles Tillman is 738190,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:738190]>Charles Tillman</A>, shares his thoughts about his first regular season NFL experience, last weekend's game against the <!--Default NodeId For San Francisco 49ers is 121,2003--><A HREF=http://49ers.TheInsiders.com>San Francisco 49ers</A>.

My first NFL game. I had a blast. It was an incredible experience. Being out there and seeing the crowd was unlike anything I've ever experienced. The energy level was unbelievable.

What I tried to do in San Francisco was to go all out on every play. I try to be there 100% from the time the ball is snapped until the end of the game. If I do well, I'm going to do really well. If I mess up, I'll definitely go down in flames. But then I'll just go on to the next series and try to do things right. That's how I've always played.

Everything bad that could have happened did happen last week. So what? That's life. We're out here practicing real hard trying to correct our mistakes. You'll be surprised at the energy and the confidence of this team once next Sunday rolls around.

The final score was not something that any of us would have wished for, but there are positives to come out of it. The team as a whole learned a lot. We're working on our communication and raising our level of effort. The loss was tough but I think that it is something that we can build on. As a young player, any experience in a game has to be worthwhile ultimately.

I'm definitely feeling like a rookie at this point. All of this is very new to me. I am trying to take things game by game. Without that approach, it can get overwhelming. What I try to do is to put in my two cents worth and let people on the field know that I am around. By that I mean that I want to make a contribution to every game that we play. As I improve, the contribution that I can make to this team will increase. Right now, I'm slotted in as nickel back. I think that's a good place to start.

It can be difficult for young player to stay focused on technique and on fundamentals. There are a lot of distractions out there. This will be particularly true up in Minnesota at the Metrodome. The noise level is supposed to be fierce. That can be a disadvantage when you are trying to get something going. As a player you have to learn to block all of that out and just concentrate on the next down.

The coaches are telling us to ignore the scoreboard. That's easier said than done. Most of us sneak a peek now and then. Ideally, though, you are concentrating on the man across the line from you. It's important to anticipate where he will go. Then you get there and make the play.

At this point, I feel that my strength is in my ability to match up against the big guys. I am large for a cornerback and this works to my advantage. If I can bring speed and size to my position, good things will happen.

I feel confident in my abilities in zone coverage. I can read plays pretty well and the pace of the action is comfortable. It is definitely faster than the college game, and quite a bit faster than training camp, but it is something that isn't too difficult for me so far.

What will be challenging is to see how the speed of play varies from week to week. Some receivers are a lot quicker than others. It's important to watch game film and know the abilities of the man you are going up against. I'm definitely looking forward to the Vikings next week. Randy Moss and D'Wayne Bates can be intimidating as receivers but the coaching staff has prepared us very well. I'm confident that our defense will be able to stop them.

I can't think of anything else that I'd rather be doing right now. Professional football, the Bears, it's a dream come true. Even after a loss, I'm eager to play. I just go out there and have fun. I can't wait to play. Any day, any time. Just bring them on.


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