The Rams showed a very strong offense. They had a slow start this season when it seemed that they were having trouble getting their rhythm and finding the receivers. Obviously all that has changed now. They have two strong quarterbacks, good receivers, and good runners. That's a tough combination to beat. I did think that we stayed with them pretty well through much of the game. To win, though, we have to keep up with them for the entire game.
Noise wasn't too much of a factor in the outcome. We're accustomed to playing in places that can get pretty wild. We had been practicing all week with loudspeakers to simulate the atmosphere in their dome. It's just something you have to get used to. What you want to do in situations like that is to score early and take their crowd completely out of the equation.
How do I feel about my progress to this point? Well, I can't say that I'm completely satisfied. There's a lot left to work on but that's the case with just about any rookie that you'd be talking to. The NFL is the same as college ball in many respects. The difference is the speed of the game and the skill of the opposing players. Being at ease with that part of the game takes time and experience.
The more time I get on the field the better my confidence level is. I wish that I'd had the opportunity to make more plays against the Rams. It's hard to be on the sidelines waiting to go in and help your team. But that's the coach's decision mine.
The nature of this game is that every time somebody goes down, you're going to have to find somebody to step up. I want to be the player filling the step up role. In the meantime, I'm working hard. You never know when the opportunity is going to come your way. When it does, you'd better know your stuff and be ready.
With the veterans out, it's not really harder to learn the plays, but you are learning more in a shorter period of time. Demands are being put on you that maybe you didn't expect at the beginning of the season. Things are changing fast in our lineups. You never really know just who will be playing at what position. There is no margin for error, either by the veterans or from the rookies.
What has been a surprise to me is there is a lot that goes on in the football business that's not in the books. You only find out by being here and experiencing things. I guess that's a lot like being a college freshman. You think that most of it will be the courses you take, but there is so much more to it than that. It's in the relationships you have and in what happens to you during the learning process.
There are a lot of new players coming into the locker room right now. Many of the players don't know each other that well. That's the kind of thing that gets your attention. It is very important in football to know what the guy next to you in the lineup is going to do. But we're all grown men here. You have to find a way to learn that works best for you and just go with that.
In many ways it's harder right now for the veterans than it is for the rookies. The veterans had a great season last year. They are accustomed to being side by side with their teammates. Rookies come in here not knowing anybody. We sort of pick it up as we go along, and we learn to work with everybody. It's just that the pressure's on the new players to learn these things right now.
Detroit is a team with an up and coming quarterback. Their offense can be good. I feel that our defense is definitely improving and that we can play well against the Lions. Each week we are getting closer to wrapping things up. In every game just one or two big plays would have made the difference.
What will happen in this game? I don't know? There are a lot of uncertainties at this point. I think that we have a good game plan and that both our offense and our defense are stronger than our record to this point would show. It's been real tough so far, but this could be the week that good things start to happen.