It wasn't strange for me to see Paul Edinger out there playing for the Vikings, but that was only because I wasn't on the team with him here. I know that a number of Bears veterans mentioned that it was somewhat jarring to see Paul wearing a purple uniform instead of navy and white.
I've been asked if the fans were a factor. Yes and no would be my answer. It was fun to hear them getting all revved up when the Bears moved down the field. But anytime I was kicking, I didn't hear a thing. I am completely locked into what I needed to do. I think that's why icing the kicker rarely works. We spend our playing time in stressful situations, so the other team trying to get a psychological edge that way just isn't going to work.
I watched everything that was happening out on the field, trying to soak up the atmosphere and become accustomed to the surroundings. From what I could tell, the stadium is a great place for football. The turf is excellent and the footing is fine. I know that visiting teams tend to complain about the constantly shifting winds, but that isn't the kind of thing that has ever bothered me.
Since I'm so new to this team, Brad Maynard and I came to the stadium last week, just to try things out a bit. I didn't even know where the locker room was and needed to get oriented.
Unfortunately the weather conditions that afternoon were quite calm so I didn't learn too much in that respect. It was very helpful for me to have Brad there, however. He's experienced and has a lot of thoughts on proper technique for maximum distance at Soldier Field. Anytime you can pick up tips like that, it's important.
As is my usual routine, I worked for quite a while on accuracy. Things went very well. That's why I was disappointed not to have had a chance for a field goal during the game. But I'll be back at it this coming weekend so I might get my opportunity then.
This week at practice I've been working on the same things I always concentrate on timing, speed, accuracy and distance. There's no such thing as too much practice as a kicker. You want every move that you make become second nature. I pay a lot of attention to leg strength and overall conditioning, too. The joke around the NFL is always that the kickers never work out. Not true. We're in as good shape as anyone out on the field.
Practice this week has gone well. I particularly enjoyed the days with high gusty winds. That was perfect. I think yesterday it was about 25-30 miles an hour out of the northeast. Kicking accurately at Halas Hall when it's like that is a very close approximation of the conditions at Soldier Field. If I can compensate for gusts like that and still boot it through the uprights, I'm satisfied.
I'm having a great time here. I feel relaxed, confident and ready to roll. As a young player, it's fantastic to get an opportunity like this. I'm exactly where I'd hoped to be when I ended my college career. Making it to the pros is great. Doing well once you are with a team is even better.
The diary was a summary of an interview between Robbie Gould and Bear Report staff writer Beth Gorr.