The main difference I've notice during the past few weeks is that I've stopped thinking so much before reacting on the field, and I've been able to make the necessary adjustments quickly. Each week, I want to become more comfortable playing football as opposed to thinking football.
The one thing I need to work on is to stop being afraid to go out there and make a mistake that will cost the team. That can slow you down for sure.
There definitely was a contrast in the defensive system presented by Houston and Indianapolis in terms of overall approach and on-field coverage. One team was 4-3, and the other was 3-4. Different guys are out on the field, but in the end it's just football. There are only so many ways you can execute a Mike blitz.
Of course we go over all of this in practice, but it's still a little different when you are actually out there playing these guys you've never faced before. But the coaches did an excellent job of preparing us, so we felt comfortable.
I've been told that the schemes we learn each week become increasingly more complex as we approach the regular season. Most coaches begin with fairly simple plays with rookies initially, then put in more of what we'll see during the regular season.
It's nothing that I've noticed though. Each week the meetings seem pretty much the same, as does practice, so if they are making things more complicated for us, it's very subtle. I'm just happy to know what's going on from down to down. I take things one play at a time.
Physically, I feel great. My body is fresh after camp, and I feel ready for the season to begin. The thing that is most in my mind at this point is the fact of making the team. When you think about it, that is the most important thing for everybody right now.
I am giving my best effort day in and day out, and hopefully that will be enough. If you watch me very carefully during games, you'll see me glance over to the sidelines after each play when I'm on the field. I want to see the coaches' reaction to what I'm doing.
Although we do go over all of this during meetings after the games have been played, I think the reaction you get right then when things are actually happening gives a player the truest feedback. I do the same thing in practice. I want to know exactly how they think I am doing every time I am out there. Without that feedback, I don't know what to work on.
The speed of the game still remains comfortable for me. I understand what is happening as the plays unfold, and I feel relaxed and able to participate in a productive way.
I've been asked often what I think about fans' expectations. This is something I feel comfortable about, and that goes way back to high school. Because of my size, people always seem surprised when I do well. To me, it isn't a surprise at all. I understand my abilities. I didn't get all those rushing yards in high school and college by sitting around worrying if I was good enough.
Looking back, I can think of very few players I knew then who have made it this far, so that in itself is an accomplishment. But for me, this is just the beginning. I believe that I can succeed in this league.
This first game at Soldier Field should be fun, but realistically it shouldn't be that different from the other two games we've played so far. Yes, it is a home game, but as a player you are so concentrated when the ball is snapped that you could be playing anywhere.
My family is excited, of course. They've seen me play so much through the years. Their support has been great. They have always believed in me. I appreciate that and plan to justify their faith in my abilities.