"Tonight was so much fun. What surprised me initially was the fact that it all felt so comfortable. As a rookie you never know for sure what it will be like until you are out there on that field in a game situation for the first time.
"I guess one thing that made me feel at home was the fact that I had a lot of family and friends in the stands. Many of my relatives live in the Chicago area. The other guys were kidding me that we had bought out an entire section. It wasn’t quite like that, but many people I know were right here watching.
"Does that put more pressure on? No not at all. Believe me, there’s plenty of pressure being a rookie already. I didn’t even think that I knew people in the stands until the game was over.
"What was my first NFL game like? Couldn’t have been better because we won. What a great way to begin a career. I was grateful for the playing opportunities. I am well aware that this is all about repetition. To learn, you have to be out there in the situation getting it done. The more time I am playing, the more I am learning.
"What do I think I need to work on? For me I think it’s mostly mental. I’ve always had confidence in my physical abilities, and my feeling so far is that the coaches trust my physicality as well. By the mental aspect of my game, I mean learning to concentrate on a play without being distracted. I need to see the entire field in an effective manner and watch a play unfold so I am right in there at the right place, the right time.
"I think I did get some good stops tonight. But it’s all part of the learning curve. These guys we faced were different from the players I’ve been facing across the field in Bourbonnais or Lake Forest. Their techniques vary quite a bit. I need to learn how to adjust to that on the fly.
"I think my overall technique is coming along pretty well. There’s still a lot to learn of course, but it’s getting to be where I want things. The vets have been invaluable in helping me with that. They always have the time to answer questions or demonstrate moves. I found when I was not on the field, watching what they did was a definite learning experience.
"Going into the next home game, I have a lot of optimism. This experience was great. I think during the next few days I’ll be working on taking care of my body to be up for the next challenge, which is our game on Thursday night. We have tomorrow off, then go back to practice in Bourbonnais. We’ll be analyzing this past game and establishing the game plan going forward. Then it’s back to Soldier Field Thursday night.
"The overall camp experience has been great for me. A year ago I’d hoped to be in this exact situation with the opportunity to progress and have a viable career in the NFL. Now I definitely believe that is possible. It’s all a matter of paying attention and working hard. I’m on my way but not there quite yet. I can’t wait for the next game so I can learn more."
Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 14 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.