Player Perspective: Brendon Ayanbadejo

Lake Forest - The special teams ace is a bit banged up going into the season finale, but with a chance to see the field in a more prominent role Brendon Ayanbadejo plans to play through the pain.

I twisted my ankle last week, which was somewhat annoying but not all that surprising. My knee is also sore as well. At this point in the season, everybody is banged up to some extent or another. We're each just trying to keep the wheels on the bus. I'm icing and also using the hot tub. I should be fine by next weekend.

Getting the bye week was so important to us. We were basically playing for that. Just to have the chance to take some time to rest and heal is vital at this point in the year. Just look at all of the guys who have been banged up the past couple of weeks. They really need this chance to take a week off. As long as its nothing serious, just bumps and bruises a few days like that can make all the difference. They'll come back much stronger which is very important when you are heading into the playoffs.

The game against the Packers went well except for that 85-yard runback by Antonio Chatman. I have no easy explanation for that other than it was just really bad all around play by our unit. I don't know if it was a mental lapse or what but he just got through everybody. We'll be able to adjustment this week from what we see on film.

It usually isn't a case of one thing going wrong, it was inattention and missed tackles by everyone. That's unusual. On a punt return, usually you'll see just one guy make a mistake. This time, it was maybe ten out of eleven guys.

One explanation was because we expected Brad Maynard's kick to go out of bounds. He's so good in that and we're used to relying on his placement. Brad was slightly off this time, which was unusual. When it stayed in and was picked up by Chatman right away, the situation caught all of us off guard.

I'm not too concerned as this is the kind of thing that can easily be corrected. It won't happen again. But the win was kind of bittersweet for me because I take a lot of pride in special teams. When something like that happens, especially when you're on national TV, it just isn't good. It's embarrassing.

This weekend's game won't be approached as we have gone into most of our games this season. We're playing primarily to complete our team, to get the guys in there who usually don't get the reps. That's an important factor we'll have the opportunity to address.

It will also be a good chance for the guys who will be playing more in the playoffs to get in. You want to have everyone communicating well. I should be OK for that as far the injury is concerned. Right now, I hope to get a lot of time against Minnesota.

I've never been in the playoffs. I'm anticipating fast hard-hitting games that are more intense than regular season games. But most of our recent games have been like playoff games. The game against Tampa, for example, was a fast up-tempo game, probably very similar to a playoff experience. So was the Panthers game. We were both coming off of strong winning streaks and we both wanted that to continue.

You want to get prepared for the speed and for the loud rowdy crowd. Of course for any playoff game we'd have in Soldier Field that loud crowd would be to our advantage. The place can get pretty noisy but so can a lot of other stadiums in this league. It's something we'll have to deal with. The buzz is in the air, people are excited, everybody is playing faster. It's going to be quite an experience.

Who would I like to play? It would be good to get some redemption against the Redskins. They're on a roll right now but I think we would do well. What they did in the past against us doesn't matter. We're a lot better now than when we played them the first time.

Every team we would face has its strengths. I think if our opponent didn't have a good defense, we'd be at a definite advantage. But we'll get a chance to sit back and watch the first round to see who opponent will be and go from there.

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.


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