After a strong career at Missouri Western State, one in which he was a two-time All-MIAA player, defensive end David Bass was selected in the seventh round of this year’s draft by the Oakland Raiders. He didn’t stick on the West coast though and was waived before the start of the season.
The Chicago Bears, looking for depth along the defensive line, signed Bass a few weeks back and he’s been an active player on game days the past two weeks. Last night against the New York Giants, Bass racked up two tackles in 29 snaps and showed very well against the run.
Bear Report goes 1-on-1 with Bass, who discusses making an impact in his second ever NFL contest.
“It’s great to have the opportunity to be out there. It’s been two games in a row now that I’ve played and I hope that trend will continue through the season. I’ve been patient hoping for a chance and now that it’s here, I am striving every single play to make a positive impact.
“I didn’t see anything I hadn’t expected to see during the game. Although our work week leading up to tonight was extremely short, we were very well prepared. We were able to anticipate what the Giants would run and defend effectively against that.
“Personally I didn’t find it to be any type of a physical strain playing two games so close together in time. Since I’ve spent a lot of time on the sidelines leading up to this point, my body is fresh.
“Mentally, though, there was a lot of learning to do in a compressed period. The walkthroughs were extremely helpful in that, but I also spent a lot of time going through game film and dissecting the types of plays that the Giants seem to favor. As a result I didn’t see anything tonight that I hadn’t expected.
“There’s a huge difference in learning once you are playing in a game. You remember everything that you’ve been taught, but you also have to learn on the fly. It’s a challenge as a rookie to adjust constantly to the moves of an opponent. It’s entirely different from playing at Halas Hall during practice when you pretty much know what the guy facing you is going to be doing. I think it’s very beneficial for my progress to be out there and to have these chances to see other teams playing up close.
“What do I think I bring to this team? I’m big and I have good speed. I’m working hard on fundamentals so I can contribute even more. I think that once you are secure in your moves, you go faster. You don’t spend that time thinking about what to do next but just react to the situation.
“I understand that I have a lot to work on in my personal technique. Getting the chance to be in a game situation helps a lot but I still need to take the time in practice to refine every aspect of my play. The coaches and vets make a big difference in that respect. They are all wonderful teachers.
“I was not in training camp with this team so it’s up to me to be up to speed in communication and in understanding the playbook. A lot of personal time has gone into that study. When I’m playing I’m expected to know what I’m doing and to react quickly. The harder I work on that, the sooner I’ll be where I want to be in terms of development of my play.
“Being in a national night game was great. You know your friends and family are watching everything you do. I also had some family here at the game. But as a rookie you need to move past that part of being dazzled and distracted really fast. I allow myself just a few seconds to think of who might be watching and to notice the stars who are on the sidelines or playing across from me. Then I concentrate on business.
“I depend on the veterans when I am on the field. They are invaluable in helping me settle down by giving me verbal and visual clues. This helps me focus. What I am working toward is feeling comfortable and confident when I’m out there. Without their input, that process would be much more difficult.
“We are expected to be ready to go in at any time. It’s a matter of being both physically and mentally prepared. Even when you are not in a play, you are expected to stand on the sidelines and absorb all that you can.
“You want to come out on top every week but it meant a lot to get this win tonight. It was for the team of course but definitely for the fans who came here to see us. They expect the best from us every single week. We needed to reverse our momentum and get headed back in a positive direction. We only have one game in the next 24 days and we want to go into that time with good experiences to build on.”
Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 12 years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.