We're back from Atlanta and getting ready to head off to Cincinnati this weekend. It was a tough loss, but we have to move past that. It's time to regroup and move on to the next game.
I was inactive for the Falcons game. That was disappointing, but what I've learned so far is the importance of being able to prove that you are ready to be in there in a game situation. I definitely prefer to have the opportunity to play, but since I didn't get the chance this past week, I stood on the sideline to learn as much as I could from watching the action.
This week, I plan to practice hard and give my best effort in hopes of being on the active list against the Bengals.
The noise level when we played the Falcons was pretty high. Not as bad as it was in Seattle, but definitely noticeable. In a way, I think that the players who are on the sidelines are more aware of that factor than the players who are in the game might be. When you are on the field, all your senses are keyed in on the next play and usually you don't get distracted.
The Falcons' crowd might have interfered with the timing of some plays to some extent, but for the most part it is something we know how to deal with. The artificial turf wasn't a factor, as we play in plenty of stadiums that have a similar surface.
The game started well, then there was a shift that wasn't in our favor. When there is a change of momentum, as there was in Atlanta, you need to make the necessary adjustments. I think the important part is not to get frustrated, as that tends to cause more mistakes.
It was a very hard-hitting, intense game, particularly in the second half. There were plenty of big plays. It was hard to come so close to the win then just miss, but that's something you have to deal with sometimes.
We came out strong and were doing well, and then it became more difficult. Everybody made the necessary adjustments and played to a high level, but there are factors you simply can't control. In those circumstances, you raise the level of play and do the best you can. But once the game is over, if what you did wasn't enough to get the win, it's important to move on mentally and get ready for the next game.
We've been on the road quite a bit in the past few weeks, and most of us went out of town during bye week, as well. Or the most part, I find the travel part of things pretty relaxing. I try to relax on the plane and not do too much, just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Then when we get to the hotel, I take a nap. To me, the most important thing is to be well rested no matter where you are playing. It's pretty much the same pregame routine once we arrive, so that doesn't bother me. Cincinnati will be our last road trip for a while. It will be good to get back into our home-field routine after that.
Today, we started to look at the game film on the Bengals. They are a strong team, so we'll have to be well prepared. Their offense seems pretty quick. I didn't notice anything in particular about the way they play, but it's early in the week and I'm sure that the more film I watch, the more I will learn.
Bye week was a lot of fun. I flew out to California to see my friends, my family and my former teammates. I was on the sideline at a San Jose State game. They lost, but it was enjoyable being there anyway.
I had the chance to talk to a few of the players I used to be with about life in the NFL. We didn't have a lot of time as I was only there two days, but I think I was able to answer at least some of their questions.
The weather on my trip was great. I'd forgotten just how nice it could be out there in California. When I left, it was 78 and sunny. When I got to O'Hare, it was something like 40 degrees and pouring. But I guess that's just a taste of what's to come this winter.
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