It's going to be a quick week for us, one with a lot of football to play. At this stage of the season everybody is pretty tired, so it will be a matter of trying to rest as much as possible while still going through practices to get us ready for new Orleans.
The game against Jacksonville went pretty well for us. Things unfolded just about exactly the way we thought they would. Personally, I was glad to get more on-field time and to my first big NFL-type hit on an opponent. It's something I hope to be doing much more of in the future.
I thought the pace of our game was good, although things did tend to slow down a bit in the third quarter. But we were able to keep control and close it out by the fourth. That is a problem we've had in the past and something that needs to be taken care of as we progress trough these last few games of the season. You have to keep your energy level up as the game progresses. Otherwise, things can get away from you.
Special teams is a good place for a rookie to learn about the game. When you are in there you're playing hard, but then you are on the sideline quite a bit. That's when I always make a point of watching and learning.
The weather conditions last Sunday were brutal, especially for me since that's the coldest I've ever been. I tried to keep my body in motion just so things wouldn't tighten up. There are heaters on the sideline, but a lot of us want to get close so it can be pretty crowded at times. Hopefully, that's something I'll become accustomed to in time.
The main thing you can do to escape the cold, at least mentally, is to concentrate completely on the game. When your mind is occupied, you tend to forget about the discomfort. The main thing is to keep your hands warm so you can grab the ball,which, by the way, is incredibly heavy and stiff. Also, you try not to stand around too much. When you're on the field, TV timeouts can be brutal.
While we definitely enjoyed this win, we needed to move on from that as quickly as possible. We came into Halas Hall ready to go on Monday. That's difficult both physically and mentally, but it's also an extremely important part of our job.
Do we check other teams scores' while we are playing? Yes, but of course only when we are on the sideline. We tend to pay attention if it is a team that has an impact on our postseason. We had hoped both the Vikings and Packers would lose last Sunday, but Minnesota pulled it out and is definitely right in there now. We'll have to win out to get a chance at the playoffs.
We practiced hard on both Monday and Tuesday, which is our usual day off, then we'll head to the hotel after a light practice Wednesday. We'll be going over the game film, formulating game plans, then working out our moves on our outdoor practice field unless the weather gets really bad.
From what I've heard it should be pretty chilly again Thursday night, which won't help New Orleans. They have a strong passing game, and that is much more difficult under harsh conditions. That's particularly true since their home field is a dome. We're hoping that will slow them down a bit.
Nationally televised night games are always a big deal for any player in the NFL. You know that your friends from college, your family and a lot of other players will be watching, so you definitely want to go in there and do well. I know that I always hear from people the day after a game like that, and I'm sure the other players do as well. And when they call, you are hoping they will only be saying good things about you.
Now it's up to us to get the job done. We are still very focused on the playoffs and understand what we need to do to get there.
Bennett Rookie Diary: 21st Entry
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