Jamar Williams Rookie Diary: Entry 4

Bears linebacker Jamar Williams has really started to play well in recent weeks, and it paid dividends with some solid production in the last two preseason games. In the fourth installment of his rookie diary, the former Sun Devil talks about losing some of his friends on cutdown day, finally being able to dress in the Halas Hall locker room, and the excitement leading up to opening day.

"It's a real change to be up in the veteran's locker room now. It's sort of weird and takes away from the rookie experience to a certain extent. As has always been the case, the rookies have been dressing for practice in the basement of Halas Hall.

"It was made extremely clear to us as soon as we joined the team that the main locker room on the first floor was for veterans only. So we made the best of our situation, and it turned into a bonding experience. Now I can come into the main locker room and find my name taped on the wall right here. It's only written in marking pen, but sooner or later, the permanent sign will be installed. I only hope that the rookies can continue to support each other and grow together as a group.

"Cut down days are bittersweet. There is the contrast of feeling elated that you've made the team combined with the sadness of losing some of your closest friends on the team. Rookies tend to band together, which makes sense since we're all brand new to the Bears system. So we get to know each other pretty well over the course of a few months.

"I'm glad that quite a few of the guys who won't be here any more have already been picked up by other teams. I wish them all the best. I've already spoken to a few of them by phone while they were on the way to their new cities. They are sorry to leave Chicago but grateful for the opportunity to continue to play professional football.

"I can't believe that the regular season is starting so soon. It's quite a time around here. You can feel the increased intensity throughout Halas Hall from the locker room to the meeting rooms to the practice field. It's clear that everybody has turned things up a notch. We're all business going into this first week.

"I don't know too much about the Bears-Packers rivalry other than what the older players have said. It's going to be quite an experience going up to Lambeau Field for the first time. I'm guessing that this game will be quite similar to my college days when Arizona State played Arizona. That got crazy sometimes, and from what I've heard, this upcoming game will have the same feeling.

"I'm working on my skills as usual this week. I had more playing time last week against the Browns than I'd had this far during the preseason. It felt great to get out there, and I'm getting more comfortable. I know that the more playing time I can get each week, the better my learning curve will be.

"I've also been working with Rusty Jones on an individualized conditioning program. Each of the players on the Bears has a specific routine designed to maximize strength and endurance and protect from injury. The program also includes specially-tailored diets depending on whether a player needs to lose weight, gain weight, or just maintain body mass. This is a very closely monitored process that has been designed for maximum results.

"So far, I'm pretty sure that my spot in the Bears lineup will be on special teams. I want to be able to help out wherever I can. I feel that I can make the earliest and the best impact there. That's the traditional way that most players get accustomed to the NFL. I'm also spending a lot of time observing the other players for ideas on technique.

"When I get into (Sunday's) game, I'll be looking to eliminate any mistakes and up my speed somewhat. It's difficult to play entirely from instinct right off. That tends to be a learned skill. You want to be out there and have your body move in the right direction before the play even registers in your mind. That's the optimal way to get things done quickly.

"What else I'll be doing this week is becoming accustomed to the regular routine at Halas Hall. There are fewer players here now so things should seem somewhat different as far as more individualized attention is concerned.

"I think that the Bears are going to have an impressive season. I try to avoid reading most press clippings about the team because that can get kind of distracting. I do know though that the Bears defense has been picked as one of the top in the league, and that's pretty exciting. I think the team's job will be to live up to the hype without getting carried away by it.

"The Bears have a strong roster of veteran player who have proved just how good they can be. I feel that the direction is positive and that everybody is going into the season in a good frame of mind. I know that I'm excited and that my family's excited. I'm ready to go and see what happens form here."

Jamar Williams writes his Rookie Diary every Wednesday on BearReport.com.

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