The coaches are making certain that we are not focusing any further than the next few days. I think that getting distracted can be a danger at this point in the season. It's a real temptation to look down the road to the playoffs, but doing that would be a mistake. It's necessary to focus and to take each game as it comes. That's the only way you get good results.
It's been a frustrating year for me due to my injury. It's disappointing to be on the sidelines when what I'd really like to be doing is going out on the field like the other guys. I've been trying to learn all I can so I am more effective at my position.
One thing I have enjoyed tremendously has been the success of the other rookies. It's been an incredible year for this class with the outstanding play of everybody who has had the opportunity to play this season. I think that each of us had hoped to do well at this level, but when it actually happens, it's amazing. I'd love to have been part of it. I certainly am looking forward to my chance to go in and make an impact next year.
A year ago, who would have thought where we'd be today? When we talk among ourselves, we always say how lucky we were to have been drafted by Chicago. I know it's where I'd hoped to end up as I felt this system was most similar to what I knew at Oklahoma. The best-case scenario is always to be picked by a big time team that can go all the way.
I've definitely enjoyed my time in Chicago. This is a great organization that takes care of its players and gives them every opportunity to develop in a productive way. Sometimes I think to myself that I could have gone to Detroit or St. Louis. That wouldn't have been anywhere near the advantageous situation I am in today.
Some of you have wondered exactly what I do since I am never out on the field for practice. Believe me, there has been plenty to occupy my time. I'm spending a lot of time working on my conditioning and in meetings learning the systems we use. That will pay off next year.
Since I have been on the sidelines during games this year, I've also had the opportunity to really appreciate the impact that Bears fans have on our games. It has been wonderful the way they've shown up to support this team.
I remember the away game in St. Louis when the stands were full of blue and orange. The same was true in Detroit last weekend. I'd look around, and most of what I saw was Bears colors. I want the fans to know that we do notice this, and we appreciate what they are doing. There's no better place in the league for fan support than Chicago.
This weekend against Green Bay, we intend to build momentum for the playoffs. We want to do well and keep our edge. That means using the starters for most of the time. Lovie has told us repeatedly that we are to play all-out this weekend. This is a big game due to the rivalry. Obviously, that doesn't mean taking foolish chances of getting injured, but it does mean giving a 100% effort. I think the team you'll see on the field Sunday night will be a hard-charging Bears lineup.
Where do we go from here, and who will we face next? That remains to be seen from the rest of the playoff games. We're lucky to have earned that first-round bye. That should give our players a chance to rest and heal some, and then go into our first postseason game with a lot of energy an attitude. Success to us means winning it all. I don't think any professional player would ever be satisfied with less.
We'll look forward to seeing the fans on Sunday night and in the playoff games to follow that. Keep the noise level up in the stadium. You'd be surprised what an advantage that is for us. This is our home turf. Let the opponents know it.
Mark Anderson usually writes his Rookie Diary every Wednesday exclusively for BearReport.com, but Dusty Dvoracek was more than happy to fill in for him this week.
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