Being in the NFL is a very different experience from playing college ball. The coaches are working with us every day, and we are getting a lot of time out on the field. That helps us adjust and raise our level of play.
It's hard to see guys keep going down with injuries all the time. We're hoping that some of the veterans will be back soon. It might not be in time for the Green Bay game, but you can be sure that they will be out there playing just as soon as they are physically ready. It gets discouraging, but nobody here believes that this isn't something we can overcome. The team is optimistic and believes that the time to start winning is right now.
Green Bay is going to be tough. We all know that. I haven't played against them yet, but the veterans have told us a lot. The Packers offense can be amazing. Favre is a legend. But that said, Chicago can win this game. Everybody is revved up. We're ready for a win.
Having this as a Monday night game should make every player want to show his best. This will be a new experience for me, so I'm not sure how nervous I'll be. I always get the jitters in my stomach and I'm sure that this time will not be an exception. In fact, if I'm not nervous, I know that something is wrong. I don't try to calm down; I just use the energy for the plays.
This week we are simplifying our game plan somewhat. Coach Blache feels that by doing this, we will be able to get more involved with the flow of the game and be able to concentrate on what we know.
It's important to play with emotion and instinct. If you are always trying to figure out complicated schemes, you could find yourself thinking about where you should be instead of actually being there. That is when bad things can happen.
Generally, a game plan is worked out early in the week, then refined as game time gets closer. It's designed to maximize everybody's strengths while focusing on the other teams weaknesses. Unless something really unusual happens, that is what you will stick with through all four quarters.
The plan comes from game films, from scouting reports on your opponent, and from any prior experience your team might have had playing against them. Knowing more or less what you are going to do and when you are going to do it is a very good thing. Nobody wants surprises if things get tough.
For myself, I am really ready to do well. All the rookies are. I want to be more productive and contribute to this team in any way I can but the sooner the better.
One thing I really enjoyed last week was the chance to see my relatives in Buffalo. What made it even better was that it was my mother Beverly's birthday and I had the chance to get a first look at my newborn niece.
The whole family came to the game, and then I had the chance to see most of them after the game. Everybody had a great time. I was just sorry we couldn't show them a win. They may not have been Bears fans before, but you can be sure that they're all Bears fans now.