It's great being here and finally getting the chance to settle in and learn the game. I'm enjoying the situation and trying to make the best of everything.
I was surprised that it wasn't a terribly difficult transition from college to the pro game. Of course, I'm just starting out here, so I certainly haven't seen everything yet.
One thing I did notice right away, though, is that the speed is so different from the way we played at Kansas State. Things happen on the field here, and the play is over before you even know it has started. That takes some getting used to.
I can't say enough for the help that the vets have offered me so far. Zack Bowman in particular has gone out of his way to answer any question I might have. He came right up to me at the first full-squad practice and offered his assistance. That means a lot. The fact that there is somebody I can talk to about technique and different aspects of play will make a big difference ultimately in my learning curve.
At K-State, I was primarily a man-to-man defender on defense. It was a system I was very comfortable with. Here at the Bears, it tends to be more of a zone defense. But I have found amazing similarities in the overall defensive system, which really surprised me. I think that any time I end up in a situation that is one on one, I get real comfortable.
Although the methods here of covering a receiver are not exactly what I've been doing for the past four years in college, I do understand the overall approach. The point is to get the ball before the receiver does. Or if your receiver does have the ball, you get it back or shut him down right away. That's a constant for the cornerback position.
I feel that I can contribute fairly soon on special teams. It's my job from now on to show the coaches what I can do.
The strange thing about all of this is that special teams coordinator Dave Toub is remarkably similar to my coach at K-State. They both have the same approach to the game and treat the players the same way. That makes a big difference in my comfort level. I think that I understand where Coach Toub is coming from.
There's been a big change since minicamp in terms of the intensity level. Much more is expected from all of us now. To keep up, I've earned the value of preparation. I go to the meeting rooms and concentrate on every detail that the coaches give us. It's all important. That way, when I'm back on the field, my mental game is where it should be. I've learned already that you can't raise your physical game without completely understanding what you are doing. First comes the scheme, and then comes the execution.
I've been asked about my impressions of the Bears receivers. All I can say is "Man, those guys are good." I played a lot of college ball, but I never went up against anybody who could play as well as they do. And the receivers here aren't even working at full speed yet. It's really impressive.
The fact that they play so well will help raise the level of my game. If I can cover them, I should do OK against other teams we'll face. What I've noticed is that they all seem to have excellent instincts for the ball. They anticipate where the play will go. Now it will be my job to do some anticipating of my own and get there ahead of the receivers.
It's been a busy few weeks. We have workouts here the rest of this month and then take a little time off before training camp. I hope to settle in some and get acquainted with the area before heading to Bourbonnais. This whole process has been exciting.
Being a Bear and playing in the NFL has been even an even better experience than I thought it would be.
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