Player Diary

What's with the weather you have around here? I came out of my house the other morning and I couldn't find my car. Everything was white. My car is black. Oh right, now I remember, it was right in front of me, covered with snow. Surprise! And from what I hear, we're going to be seeing a lot more of that white stuff before winter's over. And how are the guys from the south supposed to handle that? I guess we'll just have to find out.

The game with the Rams didn't end up the way we had hoped. Another game, another loss. Not in the plan, let me assure you. One positive thing that I have been noticing for the past few weeks has been that the defense is getting things together. It has been happening slower than any of us would like, but it definitely is happening. I see a definite movement of things in a very good way.

What do I mean by that? I think that many of us are reading the opponent's offense pretty well. That's a difficult thing for newer players to learn. With the injuries now on the team, there are a lot of the younger guys out there. We're learning on our feet in game situation, but we definitely are learning.

You never want the team's veteran players to go down. They are so valuable. They've been in game situations and they know how things go. Their moves are instinctual. Rookies can learn a lot about how the game is played just by watching them.

Does that mean that I'm not happy to be playing now as a starter? Of course not, when I joined the Bears it was with the idea that I would be out there as quickly as possible. I think that with many teams who do not have so many seasoned players out right now, their philosophy is to hold the rookies out of the games as much as possible. To let them learn by being on the sidelines and watching.

Now that's fine. I have no quarrel with it, but our situation is different. We've been handed this opportunity that most young players don't get this soon. The game begins and we are out there on the field. The coaches are expecting us to make big plays right now. Believe me, if you want to keep your job, you learn to make things happen, to make the plays the coaches are looking for.

I want to make the most of this opportunity. I'm working as hard as I can on my moves and on watching game films. There's so much still to learn but what you learn in a game situation counts for a lot. The pressure's on and you do the best that you can.

I've never been in a situation with so many losses in a row. You just can't let it get to you. It's hard to put this completely out of your mind, but really, that's exactly what you need to do. Concentrate on the job at hand. That's the secret to success.

There was added pressure playing on a Monday night. I think that will always be the case. Your family, your friends, and your peers are watching. Who doesn't want to look good in a situation like that?

Pressure isn't a bad thing. I know that it makes me focus more and learn faster. The Rams game was disappointing because they were running so many different plays at us. As a defensive player, you are always making adjustments for the offense you are facing. The Rams have, what, about 124 different offensive plays? That's a lot to cover. I felt that we held them quite well for a good part of that game. It's something we can build on.

The Lions game certainly won't be a piece of cake. We've faced Harrington once already this season and know what he's capable of. The trick is to throw him off of his game. Blitz him. Sack him. Force the run. Dominate the game. Don't give Harrington any time to get comfortable in t he pocket and make that big play.

This team is young right now. Maybe the experience of our players isn't as great as that of some of the teams we face but we do have the desire and the enthusiasm. We leave everything that we've got out there on the field. I don't know of any player with the Bears who would settle for anything less than that.

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