The pressure is on the rookies now that it's almost time for the roster cuts. It's difficult not to think about that a lot of the time. What most of us try to do, though, is to put it out of our minds and go out there to show our best work.
It's good to be back in Chicago after training camp in Bourbonnais. The good thing about camp is that it is so concentrated. You are really living football 24 hours a day. Now that we have returned to Lake Forest, there's still plenty of football, but we're also settling into our homes and getting ready for the regular season.
The closer we get to that first game against Detroit. the more intense our practices have become. I can really see a difference between now and several weeks ago. We're studying more film, developing game plans and perfecting our technique. I'm sure that once the season begins, everything will be even more intense.
I've learned a lot playing with the Bears this summer. Being a professional and having this as a job is very different from being a college player. In college, there are always distractions. You need to do well in class, you have homework to take care of and those sorts of things. Now, football is the complete focus of concentration.
Some of the veteran players have told the rookies about the importance of balancing our lives, of having some outside interests so you don't burn out. That's good advice, but I think most of us are finding it pretty difficult to follow. I know for myself, I am either thinking about plays, wondering what it will be like to go against the different teams we'll face or working with the playbook. I even dream about games at night. So far, at least, I haven't been able to turn my mind away from football.
Playing at Soldier Field was tremendous. I'd heard about the enthusiasm of the fans, but before I'd experienced it for myself, it really hadn't registered. It's such a great stadium. I could feel the energy coming from the stands throughout the game. Now I know why the veterans have been telling us that this field is such a good place to play.
The game in San Diego was an experience, as well. Traveling with a professional team is so different from traveling with a college team. The part I enjoyed the most was the considerable amount of private time we got. It's really important to have the chance to rest and focus before a game. Time for that is definitely factored into these away games.
Our next trip will be to Cleveland for the final preseason game. I am expecting that most of the new players will get considerable playing time Thursday night. This is our last opportunity to demonstrate what we are capable of doing out there on the field. We don't have a sense of desperation, but there is the realization that what we do right now is really important for our future. It's a matter of maximizing our skills and showing the coaches you've improved since joining the team.
I see my role as that of a backup. That's comfortable for me at this point. Really, I'm happy any time I can contribute. There are so many talented players on this team. I'm learning a lot from the starters just by watching them work every day. They have been extremely patient as far as answering questions I might have and helping me refine my technique.
I've been asked what I feel I bring to the team. I'd say there are several things: I am very competitive, I have a strong desire to win and I am willing to take the time necessary to learn to play well. Also, I have pretty good speed for my size.
What I'm working on right now is increasing my mobility and reacting faster once the ball is snapped. Facing the other teams during the past three weeks has helped a lot in that respect. It's good to go up against players you don't know as well as you know your own teammates. It teaches us to watch very carefully and try to anticipate what the opposing players are going to do.
I'd say the rookie experience so far was all I had hoped it could be and probably even better than that. It's very exciting going into the first year in the NFL. My short-term goal is to learn all I can and stay healthy. I want be a strong player and do everything I can to contribute to a positive outcome with the team.
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BR Rookie Diary: Webb, 2nd Entry
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