Bennett Rookie Diary: 20th Entry

Chicago Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett had been inactive the last few outings, but an injury to Marty Booker got the former Vanderbilt Commodore back on the active list last Sunday. In this installment of his Rookie Diary, Bennett writes about preparing for night games as opposed to day games.

I finally got back into a game, and it was incredibly exciting. I was on special teams during that opening kickoff return. The adrenaline was really pumping, I have to say.

I heard form my special teams coach the morning before that game that I'd be going in. You can be sure that my pregame preparation had some extra enthusiasm in it.

The Metrodome was an amazing place. As I'd expected, the noise level was incredible. And that horn or whatever it was that they kept sounding, it got sort of irritating after a while.

It was clearly in our best interest to get those fans out of the game as soon as possible. And that plan worked initially, but then the game got away from us and the noise level definitely increased.

I can't tell you what happened to us during that game. It's a fact that the Vikings played well and they played hard, but I think we all felt that there were some plays we could have executed better. Things just didn't go our way during an important game, and it was incredibly frustrating.

What surprised us the most, I think, was the fact that we'd had a great week of practice. Everything was really clicking, and we went to Minnesota with confidence that we would do well. But once the game started, something went wrong with the overall execution. I don't know if it was a matter of a lack timing on our part in terms of individual plays, or better-than-expected defense by the Vikings overall. But it just seemed like we were slightly off almost the entire time.

I can tell you for a fact that the ride back to Chicago was not much fun. That's the time you give yourself to second-guess and get angry about the outcome. Once you reach home, though, it's time to let all of that go and to move on psychologically to your next opponent.

WR Earl Bennett
Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images

I did like playing inside the dome without all the weather-related concerns. But a night game is certainly different in terms of pace during the day and your overall preparation. You'd be surprised how quickly the day seems to pass when you know you have a game that night. But on the other hand, there is a lot more time to get your things together and get to the stadium. When there's a game at noon, the pace is a lot quicker.

We're really glad to be back here and to have our next few games in front of the hometown crowd. The fans in Chicago are the best. It will be great to hear them for a change, instead of listening to the opponents' fans boo us.

Physically, it's a lot easier on us as well with no travel involved. You can get into your home routine and be ready for the game more or less at your own pace.

We'll have our hands full with Jacksonville next on the schedule. I've watched their game films and can tell you that their defense is physical and fast. Their defensive line looks pretty strong, and they are definitely big. We'll have our hands full.

But that said, I think we can move beyond our last game. We're ready to practice hard and to get a big game against the Jaguars. We'll be outside all week to get ready for the weather conditions, and I think that by the time Sunday rolls around, we'll be well prepared and eager to go.

Earl Bennett writes his Rookie Diary with longtime correspondent Beth Gorr every week exclusively for

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