Camp Chat: Brendon Ayanbadejo

Brendon Ayanbadejo had to go through the Canadian Football League on his way to the NFL, but he is now arguably the Bears' most indispensible special teams player. The former Bruin spoke with Bear Report after Tuesday morning's practice to talk about the attitude of a special teams play, managing his time at practice, and what he wants to accomplish Friday night in San Francisco.

You are one of the most important special teams contributors on the Bears. Have you always been known as a special teams guy, or is this a skill you developed later?
"I think I developed it in the CFL. In college, I didn't really play too many special teams because like most of the star guys, you play offense or defense or whatever. So I knew I had to find a niche, and I found it on special teams. I really developed it and honed it in the CFL, and then I brought it over here. And the guys I have around me here in Chicago just make me a better player."

Special teams has been described as ‘controlled chaos'. How is the attitude of a special teams play different from a normal offensive or defensive play?
"I think with special teams you know you have to play on the edge, and you just go and do your job, and you do it as fast as you can do it. Whereas if you're playing offense or defense, it's a bit little more mental, and special teams is a little bit more effort. So you just go out there, and your mindset is that you're just going to destroy anything in front of you and go as fast as you can. Whereas on offense and defense, you're thinking of different scenarios that have to play out for whatever defense you're running."

In terms of your preparation, is it difficult to split your time between defense and special teams? Do you ever feel like you have to concentrate on one versus the other?
"No, not at all. Because special teams gets its own time, and defense gets it own time. Special teams is a game within a game, and defense is the game. We have periods where it's all defense, then we have our little 30 minutes of special teams. When I watch film, I'll watch film on both, but they're pretty much two separate entities."

The defense was very good last year and is even deeper this year. Despite all that was accomplished last season, do you think the defensive unit can be even better this season?
"I think we can because if you just look at certain plays, if you go back to the game against the Redskins, we had a time in the game when we could have held them down and shut them down deep in their own territory and forced them to punt, and we didn't do that. We're a smarter team, a better team this year. And if we're in the same situation this year, we pin them down and not allow them to get out and get a first down and eventually they scored, and I think they beat us by six points or something. I think we're definitely going to be a better team this year. We're not going to make the same mistakes we made last year."

The first preseason game is this coming Friday against the 49ers in San Francisco. What are you looking to accomplish in the first live action of the year?
"Well, we want to keep everybody healthy, but at the same time, we want to see who can play football. Our goal is really to get the best 46 guys suited up, best 53 men on the roster for Green Bay. So it's just a feel-out process to see who's going to be deserving of those spots come the Green Bay game on September 10th."


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