Mark Anderson Rookie Diary: Entry 4

How in the Sam Hill did defensive end Mark Anderson slip to the fifth round in this past April's NFL Draft? The youngster from Alabama had yet another sack on Sunday against San Francisco, giving him 7.5 in only seven games as a pro. In this installment of his Rookie Diary, Anderson talks about what went right against the 49ers and when the team will start to focus on the Dolphins.

This was a good game for us, a satisfying game. Although we would have been a lot happier to have a shutout. After the game in Arizona, a statement was needed. That was a difficult game and one that we were ready to move past.

I think that the bye week helped considerably. We were able to rest and refocus. Everybody came back to Halas Hall ready to continue on with the season.

A lot of the success that we are enjoying seems to be originating in the mindset of this team. You want not only to win but to dominate. That's why the defense is always after a shutout. It's a matter of controlling the action on the field.

Things didn't go the way we wanted them to during the first three quarters in Arizona. But we never gave up, we never lost confidence, never got to the point where we thought we wouldn't ultimately win. That is how you succeed at this level.

Situations like that are frustrating. You know what you want to accomplish, but it just isn't happening. At halftime that night, we regrouped mentally. We knew what we needed to do, and we never stopped trying. Finally things came together, and we got the win.

It was a matter of getting things done in the period of time that was left. I think that coming out on top that night was a tremendous boost. It was an unbelievably positive feeling, one that we carried with us into that bye week.

Today against the 49ers, everything seemed to be working. There was a good balance between offense and defense. Everybody went out there with something to prove, and I believe that was accomplished. We planned to shut them down, and that is what happened.

I feel good that I am able to contribute in a positive way. But as I said last time, I try not to read the press clippings. I know that I am doing well, but that doesn't mean I can rest or stop trying. Every game I want to go out there and make something good happen for the Bears. If I can accomplish that goal, then it is a good thing.

I know that there has been talk recently about how the Bears are setting records this season. Really, most of us have no idea and don't care about the records at this point. We don't have the time to pay attention to that kind of thing.

We just go out there and try to win. We move from one game to the next focusing on that goal. Maybe after the season we'll take some time to look back and enjoy the records, but right now, there's too much going on to concentrate on anything but our work.

Personally, I am feeling more comfortable on the field with each game. I am playing faster, relying more on instinct than on thinking things through before I react. Speed is important in our overall scheme and at my position, so that is what I work on in practice. I enjoy getting all of the playing time that I can and doing things in a strong way.

We're going to enjoy this win for a day or two, but when we get back to Halas Hall on Wednesday. It will be time to start all over again and focus on Miami. Wins are like losses in that you can let yourself think about them for a while, then you have to forget the past and move on. Every Sunday is a fresh start.

When I watch the film from today's game, I plan to focus on what I've done wrong. I learn from my mistakes and make a point of not repeating them. That is how I improve my level of play.

I don't know what to expect from the Miami team as I haven't seen any film on them yet. We'll be working on that all of this week. It's good that this is another home game for us. The energy in Soldier Field is incredible. The fans really get into the game and we feed off of that.

I feel good and physically ready to go. I understand that the pro season is a lot longer than the college season, and that as a rookie I'll be playing a lot more games than I ever had before. But our conditioning program is a good one, and I feel that I have the endurance to get through all of the games without any problems.

We're having fun right now, that's for sure. There's no complacency or overconfidence, just an enjoyment of every game. This whole season is a new experience for me, and I want to remember every minute of it.

Mark Anderson writes his Rookie Diary every Wednesday exclusively for

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