Player Diary: Mark Bradley

Lake Forest - Mark Bradley has impressed with play in the preseason, leading the team in receiving yardage in each of the Bears' three preseason games. The rookie shares his thoughts about being back at Halas Hall and much more in this rookie diary.

Player Diary: Mark Bradley

It's great to be back in Chicago after an intense training camp. The best part of the transition from the dorm in Bourbonnais to living on my own here was that I got to go directly home, not to a hotel or a temporary apartment. My dad is in town and he took care of everything for me so I'd be free to concentrate on football. By the time I arrived at my place and walked through the front door, everything was exactly as I had hoped it would be. It felt as if I'd been living there for a long time.

As I adjust from a training camp atmosphere into actual game situations, I realize just how much my father has helped me in every respect. He takes care of the day-to-day things so I don't have to worry about them. And when I need advice about football, he's there with help on that as well.

Actually, having a father who played at this level can be a tremendous advantage for a number of reasons. The best part is that he understands the pressures of professional sports. Things that are new or confusing to me are familiar to him. He explains whatever I might not understand. The downside is that I can't get away with making any mistakes while he's watching. He's taping my games and telling me exactly where I need to improve, so it's like having a personal coach with me all of the time.

I didn't have any major surprises the first time I lined up in a game. I felt comfortable and confident. I think coming from a big school gives you many of the same experiences that you are going to get in the NFL. If anything, the crowds for games in college were larger than those I've seen so far while playing with the Bears. Of course this is the preseason and I understand it can get wild later, but that is just my initial impression.

I feel well prepared both physically and mentally. I can't say enough good things about the coaching staff here. The position coaches, the head coaches, they all take the time to work with us until we understand the system inside and out. That's so important when game day rolls around. During a game you can't take the time to think about what you are going to be doing. It has to become second nature.

The change I do notice between college and the pros are that some of the plays are slightly different to allow for the greater degree of skills that you will find at this level. And things do tend to move faster. But this has been all relatively easy to understand and adjust to so far.

My emphasis has been on doing a whole lot of work all day every day. That ‘s the way I'll get better. My days are pretty predictable. I work out, I go to practice and at night, I study film. Not much downtime there.

I want to know everything that I am doing and understand what those on the other side of the ball will be doing against me. I like to have a feel for my defender. Is he going to come straight on at me and finish up with a hard hit? Will he catch me from the side, or will be tend to cut in front just as the ball is coming down? The more I know, the better I'll be able to do against him.

The change of quarterback was a shock. That's no secret. Much of this offense had been designed around Rex Grossman's strengths. But that's not to say that Chad Hutchinson, Kyle Orton of Jeff Blake can't come right in and get the job done. They are all excellent players who will do anything they can to help us win.

Each quarterback has a slightly different technique. Somebody's spiral will be tighter and faster, another guy might hesitate a bit in the pocket before sending that ball out there. You have to know who will be lining up and what they are going want to throw. I adjust my stride accordingly. That's how you get to the right place at the right time.

Kyle and I spent quite a bit of time practicing together from the first rookie camp right on through mini-camp and training camp. We feel quite comfortable and there is good communication. That is something I think we can build on during the season. I am working with Chad right now so we can also get into a similar rhythm. I haven't done anything with Jeff Blake yet but certainly I think that will happen sooner rather than later.

I have a passion for this sport. I want to play it well, to the utmost of my abilities. I have confidence that I can get the job done. I think that is the most important quality for any football player and for rookies in particular. I haven't met anybody yet on this team who didn't feel the same way. You have to understand that you can and will be successful. That's what carries you through the hard times and into the good times.

Yes, we all took a blow when Rex went down, but we still have a lot of talent out on the field. We have an overwhelming will to win. I think we are going surprise some people with our energy and our attitude once the season begins.

The diary was a summary of an interview between Bradley and Beth Gorr.


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