That's not to say that any of us are dogging it. We're working just as hard as ever, but it is true that the overall speed of the workouts is diminished somewhat. You'd be surprised how far that goes in conserving energy that each of us will need for the upcoming game.
I feel sorry for the players on the Saints team. Not only do they have to deal with all that is going on in their hometown right now, but they never play a game in a familiar stadium. Forget homefield advantage, the Saints have no home right now.
Nothing is worse than traveling all of the time. It disrupts your entire schedule. When the Bears are home, I usually spend Saturday afternoon relaxing on my couch at home. I watch some football, take a little nap, just chill out. We all meet at our downtown hotel around 6 PM then attend meetings until 9. It's a relatively easy and relaxing schedule.
When you're traveling its a whole other situation. You get to the practice facility early to make sure all of your stuff is together. Then it's time to head to the bus that goes to the airport. Then you have the plane trip, another bus ride, settling into the hotel room, and on to a meeting. Sometimes it's easy to sleep in a strange room, other times you get disrupted by noise.
You go to the stadium play the game then pack up and head back to the airport. If it's a noon or an early afternoon game, we're on our way home and arrive in Chicago just after dinnertime. But if you have the misfortune of playing in a night game on the road, it's not uncommon to get home at 4 or 5 in the morning. Then it's back to practice by 11. That can wear you down really fast.
That should give us somewhat of an advantage this weekend. I'm guessing the Saints will be pretty worn down from all that they've been through recently. But with those players, you never know for sure. One week they will go down hard against a mediocre opponent, the next week they'll come out and beat somebody who is pretty good.
Personally I'm feeling pretty frustrated right now. I haven't had the tackle production recently that I'm accustomed to. I've been double teamed a lot and that plays havoc with my stats.
Things like that tend to be cyclical. You'll have two guys spying you for a few games, then suddenly, they go after somebody else on the Bears special teams unit. It all depends on what your opponent has seen in the game film.
Before every game, we've studied our opponent's last three games. Everybody in the league does that. Then assignments are handed out accordingly. Since I haven't done so well recently, I suspect the Saints will be taking some of the pressure off of my position. Hopefully, I'll be able to tally up some tackles. That's the plan anyway.
The mood around the locker room is really positive right now. We feel that we're on a roll and that the breaks are coming our way for a change. I'm seeing a certain level of confidence increasing with each week. That feeds on itself. The more we win, the better we feel, then we win again. If we can keep this thing rolling, this could be a very good fall for the Bears.
Brendon Ayanbadejo has agreed to share his observations of life in the National Football League with Bear Report readers. Brendon will be checking in via the website on a weekly basis.