Wolfe Rookie Diary: 8th Entry

In this installment of his Rookie Diary, Garrett Wolfe writes about seeing fellow teammates go down with injuries, watching Week 1 transpire from the sideline, and what he's been learning in the film room as he prepares for the home-opener at Soldier Field.

It's always a difficult situation when a player goes down for the season as Mike Brown and Dusty Dvoracek did last weekend. As a fellow player, you have a very good idea just how hard they both worked to come back from their previous injuries. They both have the opportunity to play in the first game of the season, then suddenly they are back on the IR list. How frustrating can that be? Everybody on the team is wishing them the best and hoping they are back at Halas Hall soon.

But as professionals, these injuries are something that we need to move on from mentally. You always hate to see anybody go down, but it happens. Football is not an easy or a gentle game. None of us can afford to be worrying that the same thing will happen to any of us. In my personal experience, it's the times that you are being overly cautious when bad things occur.

The game against the Chargers was a difficult one. It was a big time game. Every game is a big-time game, but this one in particular was against the team that had the best record in the NFL last season. The atmosphere out there was amazing, pretty much like a playoff contest would be. Not only were the fans excited but the players, as well. The intensity on and off the field was amazing.

I did not get the opportunity to play this past weekend, but I did spend my time observing every play. That isn't a bad way to learn.

As a rookie, you've got to expect that the coaches aren't going to be calling your number very much, at least in the beginning of the season. Playing time is something that you have to earn. So to compensate for that, you try to absorb as much as possible as far as the techniques of the other players. You'd be surprised how helpful that can be in a player's development process.

One thing I definitely noticed was the increased speed of the game as opposed to the earlier preseason contests. The guys are more excited now, much more so than during the preseason. It's a whole other level that the players go to once the regular season has begun. What that tells me is that I need to work on my reaction time because if you're not in there immediately, things are going to pass you by.

The trip out to San Diego went fine, but the plane we were all on coming home had some sort of problem. I guess I heard later it was a mechanical thing. Anyway, we ended up back home at around five in the morning, not the best way to begin a new week.

The first game at Soldier Field is this coming weekend against the Chiefs. I'm not expecting anything different as far as the atmosphere between the preseason home games and this one, but maybe I'll be surprised.

Our roster is getting changed around some due to the guys on IR. At this point, I don't know any more than you do as far as whether or not my role will be increased. That's for the coaches to decide. I'm sure they'll let me know well before the end of the week if I'll be doing anything different.

Physically and mentally, I'm feeling really good and I'm ready to play. I remember what a great opportunity it is for me to be playing on this team, and I can't wait to make my contributions on the field.
Unlike in college, where players had football but also a full academic schedule, it's all football for me now. It's good to have the extra time to concentrate on the game. It makes the entire experience much more exciting. But there's also a lot more at stake. This is my livelihood.

I'm spending my time sitting back and learning all that I can. I'm doing that in meetings and in practice in order to learn the system and refine my technique. If opportunity knocks – if the situation presents itself – I want to be ready to get into the game and to take advantage of that.

Garrett Wolfe writes his Rookie Diary with longtime correspondent Beth Gorr every week exclusively for BearReport.com.